The earliest color photographs were called autochromes (1904-
1930), formed on glass plates using a layer of minute grains of
starch dyed red, green, and blue and coated with a panchromatic
emulsion. When viewed closely, the finished images are like
miniature Pointillist paintings.
I am looking at an image of two young French women sitting
in a garden around 1906,
and I become the great bird of love again;
crazy with spring, I swoop down
into the middle of the belle époque,
skitter and flop on a gravel path at the feet
of these two unsmiling French girls who sit
with their hair pulled back over eyes of shade.
I will make them blush and laugh
in their pink, summer frocks as I fly up
and dart between their wicker chairs
over beds of primroses, fan plants
and columbines, to an open window
where picnic hampers have been placed.
Then the three of us will ramble
Into sunlight and droning grasses.
I will circle their lovely, oval heads,
Gently plucking at their barrettes until
They laugh, "Zimmer, l'oiseau absurde!"
You crazy bird! And toss me
Bits of bread and boiled egg.