PHOTOCHROMA : birth of color photography : Edmond Becquerel’s photochromatic images

The PHOTOCHROMA program is funded for a year by the PRES Sorbonne-Universités within the framework of the call for proposals “Convergences”. In the context of this program, the first color photographic process is investigated. To our knowledge, it has not been extensively researched since Edmond Becquerel introduced it in 1848.


The program starts in November 2014.

The partners of the program are:

- Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation (CRC) : Marie-Angélique Languille, Chantal Garnier, Christine Andraud et Bertrand Lavédrine,

- Centre Victor Basch (CVB) : Laure Blanc-Benon, - Centre André Chastel (CAC) : Guillaume Le Gall, - Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP) : Jean-Marc Frigerio.

The aims of this program are as follow:

- Finding ways to understand the origin of colors in photochromatic images prepared by following the processes invented by Edmond Becquerel. For this purpose, we seek to understand the links between microstructure and optical properties.

- Trying to define color photography ontology and to grasp the reception of the first color photography in its historical context.

The resources of the program for the November 2014 – December 2015 allow us to:

- Hire a 12 month fixed-term engineer for the Photographic Materials department of the CRC ;

- Gain acess to experimental facilities for chemical, structural and optical characterization ;

- Organize an interdisciplinary study day at the end of 2015 ;

- Organize study trips.