Jacques Henri Lartigue famously took his first pictures at age 8, more unusual for a child in 1902 than it is for those who grow up with iPhones. His giddy studies of the wealthy world around him—full of car races and airplanes and motion—have been widely celebrated since his MoMA retrospective in 1963, but less attention has been paid to his work in color. He began working with color at the age of 17, and it makes up nearly 40 percent of his 100,000 negatives. On view until April 3 at Foam Fotografiemusem Amsterdam, “Jacques Henri Lartigue – Life in Colour,” presents more than 100 works in color, ranging from the stereoscopic autochrome plates he made starting around 1910 to the Ektachrome he shot in the 1950s. Lartigue saw himself as a painter and moved in high art circles in Europe, but he continued to make photos throughout his life. In Provence, Megève and Antibes, he recorded moments of beauty and pleasure in his prosperous French family. “Before, when it was too nice or too lovely a day, I felt a kind of ‘illness’: a mixture of wonder and ‘desperation,'” he wrote. “But this morning I have ‘autochrome’ color plates. I set up my tripod and my camera facing the great motionless trees in the blue haze, and I’m happy! A feeling of calm…” For Lartigue, color was another distraction in a life of ease, one that left a vivid record of a charmed life.
An Interview with Foam’s Marcel Feil (For PDN Subscribers only; login required)