Peter Horvath uses colour photography to create multimedia surrealist pieces of artwork. His series American Century presents the view with nostalgic images of American iconography to reflect the changing position from the ‘American Century’ of the 20th century into todays contemporary world when the United States hegemony is in decline. Untitled (John F. Kennedy) presents a photograph of former President Kennedy with a piece of his head missing. His portrait is presented in front on the American landscape of the Wild West. Horvath use of old colouring from the iconic images encourages viewers to reflect about the faded ideals of America’s ‘Frontier Spirit’ of adventure, ambition and strength of the nation’s place in the world.
Colour photography is referred to photographic media that is capable for reproducing colours. Just like traditional photography, colour photography is a modern medium that has continuously been experimented and developed by artists and photographers to produce some of the most extraordinary pieces of modern artwork. Throughout the 19th century photographers experimented with different mediums and methods to try and reproduce colour. Whilst many tried to develop the technology, others decided to hand paint colour onto black and white photographs. This method became widely popular with British photographers who travelled around the world and produced skilfully painted ‘postcard’ photographs of countries such as Japan. In 1903, the Lumeire brother invented the Autochrome Lumerie colour photography process which enabled cameras to produce positive images with colour transparency. Photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz was amongst the first to experiment the process with portraiture and landscape photography. By the 1930s Kodak invented Kodahchrome which colour reversal film became widely accessible and affordable. Artists and photographers continued to use the material as their predominant choice for colour photography for over seventy years. The developments of techniques within colour photography created endless possibilities. Photographers such as Ernst Haas were able to bring the streets of New York to life and portray its vibrancy and energy through his Life series New York (1953). The publishment of Hass’s photography in prestige publications such as Life and Vogue created excitement and recognition for colour photography. Ernest Hass and William Eggleston held colour photography exhibits across America and Europe which gathered critical acclaim and brought the medium into the recognition as fine art photography.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s colour photography became a prized choice for artists and photographers to produce significant photographic series such as Bruce Davidson’s Subway (1986). Davidson’s Subway was credited a crucial moment in colour photography as the colour brought to life images of places and people that would have normally been hidden and hidden in traditional black and white photography.