a colourful French gentleman

Louis Ducos du Hauron c1915 courtesy of Colour Phtography by Brian Coe

Toronto. It’s nearly three years since I first posted a note about Louis Ducos du Hauron and his contribution to colour photography. After Ducos du Hauron learnt about the three colour theory of vision, he predicted almost all the ways to create additive and subtractive colour transparencies and prints.

His earlier papers were wrong in their tri-colour choice but that was due to an error in the general perception of colour  theory, not an error on his part. Photographic materials of the day were too slow and limited in spectral range to prove his theories. Worse, the papers he submitted were never read to become a formal record.

I had a slide show of about 30-45 minutes based on the monochrome techniques of the 19th century. A requested presentation to a local Colour group resulted in me revisiting my talk. To my dismay, colour was not as linear as monochrome, but throughout it all was the Young-Helmholtz theory and the theories and concepts of Ducos du Hauron!

Brian Coe’s book “Colour Photography” was a wonderful guide to the highlights of colour photography since the 1839 invention of the art.


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