Once upon a time in America

Rediscovering the first color photographs of the New World

These rediscovered Photochrom and Photostint postcard images from the private collection of Marc Walter were produced by the Detroit Photographic Company between 1888 and 1924. Using a photolithographic process that predated the autochrome by nearly 20 years, they offered people the very first color photographs of The United States. Suddenly, the continent's colors were available for all to see. The rich ochres and browns of the Grand Canyon, the dazzle of Atlantic City, became a visual delight not only for eyewitnesses, but for Americans far and wide.

Imbued with this sense of discovery and adventure, the pictures gathered here are a voyage through peoples, places and time at once. They take us through North America’s vast and varied landscape, encounter its many communities, and above all transport us back to the New World of over a century ago. Over more than 600 pages including fold-out spreads, this sweeping panorama takes us from Native American settlements to New York's Chinatown, from some of the last cowboys to Coney Island's heyday. As luminous now as they were some 120 years ago, these rare and remarkable images that brought America to Americans now bring American's past to our present.
The authors:
Graphic designer, photographer, and collector Marc Walter specializes in vintage travel photographs, particularly photochroms, of which he has one of the world's largest collections. He has widely published books with images from his collection as well as his own photographs.

Sabine Arqué is a documentarian, iconographer, and author. She has collaborated on numerous books on the subjects of travel, the history of tourism and photography.
An American Odyssey (XL-Format)

An American Odyssey

Hardcover with fold-outs, 11.4 x 15.6 in., 612 pages
$ 200
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
  • Reviews
“I found many of the images truly beautiful, often awe-inspiring… Hours can pass simply reading store signs, or poring over faces among the masses on tenement-lined streets… An American Odyssey is a celebration of the North American continent made exceptional by its scope.”
— South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • FAQ - Frequently asked questions
1. What exactly is a photochrom?
A photochrom is a color proof obtained by transferring a black and white photographic negative on numerous lithographic stones: one for each final wanted color. This was done using a specific new process, “the Photochrom process”, invented in 1889 by the Swiss Hans Jakob Schmidt, chief lithographer at the Orell Füssli printworks in Zurich.
  • See also
National Geographic. Around the World in 125 Years (XL-Format)
National Geographic. Around the World in 125 Years
Hardcover, 3 vols. in slipcase, 11.0 x 15.4 in., 1404 pages
$ 499
Norman Mailer. JFK. Superman Comes to the Supermarket (XL-Format)
Coming soon Norman Mailer. JFK. Superman Comes to the Supermarket
Hardcover, 11.4 x 15.6 in., 370 pages
$ 150