How early 20th century America played and worked, in color

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1916

A Hopi Indian and his burro stand at the edge of a high mesa.

Image: Franklin Price Knott/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

These Autochromes – the first commercially available color photographic process – were taken by National Geographic Society photographers. The Society eventually moved on to other slightly more advanced photographic processes and finally to Kodachrome by 1938, but not before amassing a collection of more than 12,000 Autochromes.

In July 1914, National Geographic magazine published its first natural color photograph. The photograph not only demonstrated the Autochrome photographic technique, but also that the photograph could be reproduced on the page of a magazine. The magazine’s cover style thus changed from a list of contents to an image from the lead story. Read more…

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