Glory Days of Old-Fashioned Color Photography

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The Photo Blog
May 20 2013 11:14 AM

The Glory Days of Old-Fashioned Color Photography

Color Rush, William Eggleston, Nan Goldin
Untitled (Memphis), 1971 (left); and C.Z. and Max on the Beach, Truro, Mass., from Goldin’s slide show, 1976.

Left: William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust. On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in "At War With the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston," through July 28. Right: © Nan Goldin. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. Both are from Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

A beautiful new book from Aperture, Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman, examines the history of color photography from its origins in 1907 and the unveiling of autochrome, the first commercially available color process, through 1981 and that year’s landmark exhibition and book The New Color Photography. 

During the space of those 74 years, the list of renowned photographers whose careers were marked by their use of color is seemingly endless, including Alfred Stieglitz, Irving Penn, Walker Evans, Stephen Shore, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman, among many others whose work is featured in the book.

Making for a well-rounded depiction of the prevalence of color photography, the pages of Color Rush are also full of film stills, advertisements, newspaper clippings, fashion magazine shoots, spreads from National Geographic, and other mediums providing enough material to make any photography aficionado happy.

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News about photographic film in the past several years has been grim, with previously popular film stocks discontinued, the death and resurrection of Polaroid film, the bankruptcy of Kodak, and various other threats to what was a cutting-edge art form as well as a ubiquitous way for people to capture moments from their daily lives. Color Rush makes a compelling visual case for preserving the tools of the past as photography moves strongly toward digital technologies.

This book’s release also coincides with the color-photography pioneer William Eggleston’s exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, on view now through July 28.

Color Rush, Nickolas Muray
Bathing Pool Scene, Ladies' Home Journal, 1931

Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. Courtesy George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

Color Rush, Joel Meyerowitz
Red Interior, Provincetown, 1977

©Joel Meyerowitz. Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum. Permission courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

Color Rush
Left: Construct PC 1-B, 1981, by Barbara Kasten. Right: Walk with Soames, 1958, by Saul Leiter.

Left: © Barbara Kasten. Courtesy the artist and Bortolami, New York; Right: © Saul Leiter. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

William Eggleston, Color Rush
Untitled, 1971

William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in "At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston," through July 28.

William Eggleston, Color Rush
Untitled (Greenwood, Mississippi), 1980

William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in "At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston," through July 28.

William Eggleston, Color Rush
Untitled (Louisiana), 1980

William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in "At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston," through July 28.

Color Rush, Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Mario, 1978

© Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

William Eggleston, Color Rush
Untitled (Memphis), 1970

William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in "At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston," through July 28.

Color Rush, Nickolas Muray
Christmas Cakes and Cookies, ca. 1935

Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. Courtesy George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

Color Rush, Stephen Shore
Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975

© Stephen Shore. Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum. Permission courtesy 303 Gallery, New York. From Color Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (Aperture/Milwaukee Art Museum, 2013).

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