Photochromosomes































People seemed to enjoy the photochromes (or "photochroms") I featured this weekend, so I'm posting some more. They come from the LOC photochrom archive. Also see their daguerreotype archive.


Photochromes were popular between about 1890 and 1910. The actual creators were not identified (as far as I can tell). They were mostly sold as postcards.


Photochrome process: "A litho stone was coated with a thin layer of purified bitumen dissolved in benzene. A reversed half-tone negative was then pressed against this light-sensitive coating and an exposure in daylight made (taking from 10-30 minutes in summer, to several hours in winter). The bitumen hardened and became resistant to normal solvents in proportion to the light. The coating was then washed in turpentine solutions, removing the unhardened bitumen. It was then retouched in the tonal scale of the chosen color to strengthen or soften the tones as required. Each tint needed a separate stone bearing the appropriate retouched image, and prints were usually produced by at least six, and more commonly from 10 to 15 tint stones."


Alternate description of the process: Max Ernst photoshops livestock into the xeroxed ruins of Caspar David Friedrich paintings.