First Color Photograph

This is the first official color photograph, produced in 1861 by Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell.  Various people experimented with color photography throughout the 19th century, but most results were temporary projected images, rather than permanent color images.  Until the 1870’s, available emulsions weren’t sensitive to red or green light.  This particular image, “Tartan Ribbon,” is still remarkable, considering that the first actual photograph had been taken less than a quarter century earlier, in 1838 or 1839, by Louis Daguerre.


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