In 1909 the millionaire French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn embarked on an ambitious project to create a colour photographic record of, and for, the peoples of the world. As an idealist and an internationalist, Kahn believed that he could use the new autochrome process, the world’s first user-friendly, true-colour photographic system, to promote cross-cultural peace and understanding. (excerpt from the book ‘The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn: Colour Photographs from a Lost Age)
Kahn used his vast fortune to send a group of photographers to over 50 different countries across the globe and amassed a massive 72,000 images, currently housed in a museum on his estate. Kahn died in 1940 and the collection is considered the most important record of early colour photographs in the world.
The following images are from the book which accompanied a BBC documentary about Albert Kahn and his collection.