United States of America 1886 – 1965

(Modern ceramics still-life) (1938) Materials & Technique: photographs, carbro colour photograph

Dimensions: printed image 42.0 h x 35.4 w cm sheet 42.8 h x 36.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1984
Accession No: NGA 84.1513
  • The sophistication and invention of 1930s advertising photography is well illustrated by this image. The colour carbro (from carbon and bromide) process uses three bromide prints made from colour separation negatives to produce images on yellow, magenta and cyan carbon tissues. These tissues are transferred one at a time in register onto a receiving paper to give a colour print. It is a complicated process which required a day or sometimes longer to achieve and required a high level of printing skill. Despite this major corporations were willing to carry the expense to produce these prints, due to their unsurpassable colour reproduction quality. Working out of a studio in New York, Williams was a leading advertising photographer of his day. In one of its incarnations Modern ceramics still-life was used to promote the Oxford Paper Company and the ability of its Polar Superfine range to faithfully reproduce colour.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra