infocobuild

The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn

The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn is a BBC documentary series narrated by Veronika Hyks, examining philanthropist Albert Kahn's Archives of the Planet - an attempt to document all aspects of human life on earth in the early 20th century using the world's first user-friendly colour photography process, leading to an archive of 72,000 photographs shot in more than 50 countries.

In 1909, Kahn travelled with his chauffeur and photographer, Alfred Dutertre to the Far East on business and returned with many photographs of the journey. This prompted him to begin a project collecting a photographic record of the entire Earth. He appointed Jean Brunhes as the project director, and sent photographers to every continent to record images of the planet using the first colour photography, autochrome plates, and early cinematography. Between 1909 and 1931 they collected 72,000 colour photographs and 183,000 meters of film. These form a unique historical record of 50 countries, known as The Archives of the Planet.

Episode 1 - A Vision of the World
This episode shows the pictures Kahn produced the first time he took his autochrome plates abroad during an epic round-the world trip in 1908.

Episode 2 - Men of the World
This part tells the story of the circumnavigation of the globe by Kahn and his chauffeur, and the 1913 journey of Stephane Passet to China, Mongolia and India.

Episode 3 - Europe on the Brink
When Auguste Leon visited Scandinavia in 1910, he found widespread deprivation and famine. In the Balkans he recorded the increasing volatility of Europe on the eve of war.

Episode 4 - The Soldier's Story
This edition looks at how images of World War One were captured as Kahn's team journeyed through the shattered landscapes of eastern France.

Episode 5 - The Civilian's Story
Throughout the Great War, Kahn's photographers travelled throughout France, documenting the impact of the conflict on non-combatants in the towns and villages.

Episode 6 - Europe After the Fire
When the Armistice was signed in November 1918, Kahn's team photographed the scenes of jubilation in Paris as they witnessed the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference and recorded the horrifying aftermath of four years of war.

Episode 7 - Middle East: The Birth of Nations
The First World War led to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and its former provinces came under the control of France and Britain. Albert Kahn's cameras were there to record the establishment of new nations.

Episode 8 - Far East: Expeditions to Empires
Between 1914 and 1928, Kahn sent some of his most talented photographers to the Far East. In Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan, they produced a compelling photographic record of economic and cultural life, subsistence industries, and ceremonial practices.

Episode 9 - The End of a World
This program shows the films and autochromes shot by Kahn's cameramen, depicting the lives of fishers, farmers, Gypsies and bullfighters in France.


Related Links
The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn
BBC Books, in association with the Muse'e Albert-Kahn, presents an astonishing collection of early true-colour photographs from around the world to accompany the acclaimed BBC television series.
The Genius of Photography
This is a BBC documentary series exploring the history of photography, from the earliest days of the photograph in the 1840s to the first decade of the 21st century.
The Life of a Photograph
Veteran National Geographic photographer Sam Abell offers a look inside the heart and mind of a master photographer.
The Art of the Image
Utilizing his formal training as a teacher, Art Wolfe dissects visual images, exploring what makes a compelling and emotionally engaging photograph.