Saturday, May 24, 2008

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) - Photography for a Vision of World Peace

Rare Photo of Albert Kahn - On the Balcony of his Office, Rue de Richelieu, Paris, 1914

Born in Alsace of a Jewish family, Albert Kahn moved to Paris when the province was annexed by Germany in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian war.

Kahn made his vast fortune first in diamond mining and then as a banker in the world of international finance, most notably in loans in Japan, partly facilitated through connection with the Japanese royal family.

Japanese princess photographed at Kahn’s home at Cap Martin in the south of France, 1920's?

But Kahn's claim on our attention these days is as the initiator of an early and grandiose project to make a coloured photographic record of the peoples and cultures of the world. To promote peace and understanding on a global scale.

As a philanthropist, he financed this extraordinary project which sponsored photographers to travel to at least 50 countries from 1907 till the demise of his wealth in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the venture had to be abandoned.

Mongolia

Grand Lama - the most powerful man in Mongolia - at Ulan Bator (24 July 1913)


Itinerant hunters of Mongolia were still using matchlock rifles. This man appears to be near Mongolia’s border with Russia. He makes a living selling pelts of foxes and wolves. (1913)

Married noblewoman, Ulan Bator (1913)

Woman punished for adultery Ulan Bator (1913)

Scandanivia

Oppheim, Norway (14 August 1910)

Women in folk costume at Alvkarleby, Sweden. Woman on right in Lapland costume. (25 August 1910)

Far East

The Hands of a Scribe, Hanoi, Vietnam (c.1915)

Actors of the Saigon Theatre, Saigon, Vietnam (1915)

Concubine of an affluent opium smoker, Vietnam (1915)

A group of wandering Brahmins and sadhus, Bombay (17 December 1913)

The leading actor in the Noh play Mochizuki performing the Japanese Shishi-mai or Lion Dance (1912)

A young man in the huge temple complex of Kong Miao, which is dedicated to the great sage Confucius, who was born at a house on this site in 551 BC, Qufu (14 June 1913)

A fruit seller, Columbo, Celon (22 July 1914)

Angkor Wat (1918 or 1921)

India’s Maharajahs gathered in their finery to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Maharajah of Kapurthala, Jagajit Singh (1927)

The imposing city walls of Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province in northeast China, were built in the eighteenth century (May 1912)

Africa

Algeria, woman weaving. By celebrated French photographer Jules Gervais-Courtellemont. Algiers (1909)

Djibouti, French Somaliland (22 July 1914)

Moroccan women in kaftans Sido Bou Othmane (December 1912)

Oldest Pottery Shop in Tunis, Tunisia (1910)

Somba men stand in front of the distinctive castle-shaped, multi-storey dwellings known as Tata Somba, Koudenndongou (17 March 1930)


The womenfolk of the Ouled Nail people were trained in childhood to dance provocatively to earn money for their marriage dowries. Biskra, Algeria (1909)

This may be the earliest colour photograph of the Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khufu (or in Greek, Cheops). Giza (5 January 1914)

These members of Vodun's Zomadonou cult honour fetishes representing the Tohossou – the Gods of Water. Dahomey, Benin (28 February 1930)

Two young Jewish women, Tunis, Tunisia (1910)

Youngsters at the fishing port of Safi on Morocco’s Atlantic coast (21 June 1926)

The Americas

Although two-thirds of Albertans are now city-dwellers, cowboys still figure prominently in rural areas – and at the annual Calgary Stampede (13 May 1926)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 1909)

Western Europe

Basque Boys, Bilbao (29 May 1917)

Sarnen, Switzerland (24 April 1921)

Shot in the dark vault of the church of San Zeno de Maggiore, Verona (16 May 1918)

The Ruhr, Germany (14 May 1921)

This fisherwoman and her partner hail from the small port of Volendam, near Edam (29 August 1929)

Middle East

Bedouin elder Jerusalem, Palestine (2 August 1918)

Emir Faisal (1883–1933), King of Greater Syria (briefly in 1920) and later King of Iraq (1921–33), Aqaba (28 February 1918)

Hashemite Arab boy rides through Antioch just days after France granted the ancient city special autonomous status within Syria, Antioch (26 October 1921)

Kurdish women fetching water in northern Iraq, Zakho (11 May 1927)

Lebanon (29 November 1919)

England and Ireland

Barefoot Mian Kelly lived in the Claddagh. 14 years old. Galway, Ireland (25 May 1913)

Galway, Ireland (25 May 1913)

Eel fisherman on Lough Ree, North of Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland (June 1913)

Haycart, Cornwall (August 1913)

Working dock, Thames, London, England (1924)

France and World War One

Monsieur Louis is working in a vineyard at Saint-Gengoux-de-National, Burgandy (5 November 1918)

Rheims, France (23 March 1911)

French soldiers taking aim in a trench at Le Hamel. Somme, France (9 August 1915)

A French poilu oversees German prisoners of war digging graves at Craonnelle, 15 miles northwest of Rheims Craonnelle, France (27 August 1919)

Aviators preparing for take off in a Farman MF11 Shortnose biplane, Somme, France (1915)

Girl with Rifles, Rheims, France (1917)

Soldier Pissing (1918)

I've tried to give a broad selection of content across a range countries and continents - to allow for many different kinds of comparisons: peoples, famous sights, social and work activities, and so on.

Hope you enjoy!

10 comments:

  1. Hello Nick, this is brilliant - what a beautiful place the world is. There is a place in one of the pictures where I live now, but you wouldn't have guessed. It is wonderful to look up from the gutter for a minute. PS thanks for the previous Dave post.

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  2. hey anon. thanks - yeah, you just have to wonder at the amazing cultural diversity in the world! i think dave is so so hot - wish i had more stuff to share on him. take care. nick

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  3. Nick-

    Your blog is amazing. Educational one day and entertaining the next. I really enjoy and look forward to it.

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  4. C'est ce que nous appelons en français "un coup de maître"!
    Felicitations!
    Je ne me suis pas trompé.
    Ulysse

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  5. Yes, I enjoyed every one of those fabulous photos! And what a wonderful world it was, 100 years ago. In those days, when you went to another country, you really knew you'd been to another country!

    My favorites are the Mongolia photos. I think if you go to Mongolia even now, you'll really know you've been to another country.

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  6. heu keith - actually been to inner mongolia on holiday when i lived in china - did a post using some photos i took there - i remember walking down the main street of a small town called Huahouta (spelling?) and drawing people out of their houses just to pull the hair on the arms of the 'white devil'. even stayed in yert - think i posed the pics. it's still an astonishing barren and beautiful other-worldly place. take care nick.

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  7. hey laserdoc, thanks, hope you keep enjoying it - variety keeps me interested in doing it - there's only so much sex you can post, well, maybe not, but! please keep in touch. take care. nick

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  8. merci mon cher cher ami ulysse. j'ai un ami qui est malade et c'est difficile d'ecrire a ce moment mais j'espere plus tard ... ce soir.

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    ReplyDelete