Wanderlust: Autochrome Photos of the French Countryside

This time of year is always a bit difficult for me. It’s the last stretch of Winter and yet Spring seems so far away. Naturally I start daydreaming about traveling to some lovely far off place. This time last year I was counting down the weeks until we left for our trip to France, so the French countryside is on my mind.

These antique autochrome photos of the French countryside are warming my heart a bit on this dreary February day as they remind me so much of the sights and scenes we say when we traveled through Aveyron. / (photo above) St. Marie bridge, Chamonix Valley, France

Le Cantal, St. Jacques and the Puy-Griou, Auvergne Mountains, France

Le Cantal, Chateau Anteroche, near Murat, Auvergne Mountains, France

Talloires, Annecy, France

images sourced from: Library of Congress, Autochrom Collection

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Some Vintage Autochrome Photos to Cheer Your Day


I find vintage autochrome photos so beautiful! To me they look half a painting, half a photograph. I’ve seen several on Pinterest (and I’ve already posted about autochromes before), so I wanted to share some new ones I found around the web. Luckily Tumblr is a wonderful source for finding beauty when you are searching for it!

vintage1910sautochromephoto_01 vintage1910sautochromephoto_02

Aren’t these two above just exquisite? Isn’t her feather adorned hat SO FANCY? Also the flower cart image below (I believe it’s French) is just charming! I wish flower carts like these still existed around the city! Perhaps our sister florist shop, Rue Anafel, will start the trend up again?

vintage1910sautochromephoto_06 vintage1910sautochromephoto_07 vintage1910sautochrome_05

I am particularly fond of this potted plant still life photo because there is something so wonderfully modern about it. It could be a scene from my house! The above autochrome photos are all from Autochrome Photography Tumblr.

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Vintage Inspiration | Autochrome Girls


Our vintage inspiration for this week are the girls of Autochrome Lumière photographs. You’ve probably seen these beautiful photographs floating around the internet, noted with a caption that says, “autochrome”. What does that mean? Just in case you didn’t know what Autochrome Lumière is, it simply is a type of mosaic photographic process, made on a glass plate, that existed before subtractive color film (which is now commonly used). It was made by a couple french men, the Lumière Brothers, in 1903.


There is something so special about autochrome photographs. They have such interesting color and a slight haze. They look like paintings, or maybe even dreams.



They definitely make images seem other worldly, and because it was produced and used for such a short time, many of them are from the early 1900s. I feel like it’s because of these autochrome images, that I have such a romanticized view of this era. Of ladies in (what we now we consider) antique clothing just peacefully existing in their world.



This above photograph is probably one of my favorite I have come across. Have you ever heard of Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet? In 1909, Kahn sent out photographers to photograph the people of 50 different countries. The project took place over the following 20 years. Many autochrome photographs now come from that collection.


source: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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12 Beautiful Antique Autochrome Photos

I first learned about autochromes a few years ago when I came across a photo on Flickr and thought someone had photoshopped colors on to an antique portrait from the early 1900s. How thrilled was I to find that these colorized photos were originals! Fast forward to today, with the power of Pinterest, I am able to share with you some of my absolute favorite autochrome photos.

But first, WHAT is autochrome? In short, it is an early type of photography used by the Lumière brothers (Auguste and Louis) in France (1903 was when it was patented by them, then first marketed publicly in 1907).

***How wonderful is it by the way that their surname translate to “light” If there ever was a surname more befitting of ones occupation in life…

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

If you are interested in learning more about Autochrome or seeing more delightful colored antique photos… here are some links

100 Years of Autochrome (PDF file) | http://theimageworks.com/pdf/100years.pdf

What is Autochrome (more technical/science-y) | http://sechtl-vosecek.ucw.cz/en/expozice10/tabule-autochrom.html

Autochrome (Wiki French version) | http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autochrome

The Lumière Brothers | http://www.earlycinema.com/pioneers/lumiere_bio.html

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

This autochrome is perhaps one of my favorites ever taken by John Cimon Warburg – c. 1909. There is something so serene, magical, calming, and just all things wonderful about this photo. Whenever I see a photo and think “I wish that was a photo of ME” I know that it really speaks to me because I want to embody everything I adore about that specific moment captured in time.

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

This image of these three women (picking fruit I am assuming) in France makes me long for the beautiful late summer afternoons in Sauvie Island. I adore this so much.

Image credits (from top to bottom)

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments


These two autochrome photos are of the same lovely woman, Bibi Lartigue in Rouzat c. 1921. I really love her ensemble and find it so refreshingly modern. I would wear this, exactly as is today.

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments

Another autochrome that I find to be quite modern. You would almost think this is a photo from the 1970s of a bohemian flower child with her tousled curls, flowers in her hair, the floral print of her dress and that v-neckline! This autochrome photo however dates to 1910 and was taken by Paul Bergon “Woman Posing in a Garden”

12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments


12 Beautiful Autochrome Moments


This last one photography by Antonin Personnaz looks just like a painting by Monet. I am lost amongst the field of flowers, that sky, those clouds. Was it raining that day or was the lady simply shielding herself from the harsh rays of sunshine? What words were spoken the remainder of the day? Ahhh…. aren’t autochromes just wonderful?


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