Mexico in colour by William Henry Jackson, 1884-1885
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We just acquired a group of twenty photochrom prints of Mexico taken by William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) in 1884-85 and listed in the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. Jackson took photographs of street scenes, buildings, markets, ranches, and other subjects in Mexico City, Amecameca, Aguascalientes, Chapultepec, Chihuahua, San Marcos and Tacubaya.
The Photochrom is a photomecanical printing process invented in Switzerland in the mid 1880’s. The prints look deceptively like color photographs. But when viewed with a magnifying glass the small dots that comprise the ink-based photomechanical image are visible. The photomechanical process permitted mass production of the vivid color prints. Each color in the final print required a separate asphalt-coated lithographic stone, usually a minimum of six stones and often more than ten stones.
The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to use the Swiss “Photochrom” process for the Americas.