Seeing so many photos aged through Photoshop, it becomes something amazing to see how folks used to do it the old-timey way where things were much more hands on, where a poster would take a month, not an afternoon, to finish. The images shown here are likely more than 130 years old and, yes, you read that right. Using a process invented in the 1880s by Swiss chemist, Hans Jakob Schmid, these photochroms involve transferring glass negatives onto lithographic plates and then printing these with colored inks. While color photography was indeed around at the time, it was really only available in the labs of researchers. It wasn’t until 1907, almost 20 years after some of these photochroms were probably taken, that color photographic plates became commercially available.
Alex Dent of The Fox is Black shared these in April after he ran across them while perusing the Library of Congress’ flickr site. All three of the moody landscapes above are from around Scandinavia, I imagine anyone producing this quality of image at the time would’ve looked akin to a magician. Looking at these photos even today gives me shivers. Beautiful.