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June 16, 2016

Stunning Color Photographs Capture Daily Life at Brighton Beach in 1906

Otto Pfenninger (1855–1929) was a founding member of the Swiss Photographers Association (1886) and a pioneer of color photography. He moved to Brighton, England where he developed his career as a photographer.

In 1906, Pfenninger built a special camera to his own design using 3-color separated plates from which full-color photographic images could be created. That summer Pfenninger used this tri-color, single exposure camera to create some of the first color photographs, using the parks and beaches of Brighton as scenes.

His camera was based upon J.W. Bennetto’s one-shot camera of 1897 in which three separation negatives were obtained at a single exposure. Pfenninger tried to use the same system but found that the refracted image was shorter from top to bottom, his solution was to add a glass plate at the same angle, but opposite direction, to the Bennetto reflector.

Here’s some of his work:

(Photos by Otto Pfenninger)


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