JF Ptak Science Books Post 2434 Color and Advanced Color-Abuse series
Dr. Benway lining up his colors before weighing them...
Jarring experiences are good as displacers of the stuff that you've come to know without knowing and without explanation because they make you think about these things--along with thinking about why you haven't though about thinking about them. For example, color: on the low end there is seeing Cary Grant in color (which is half-expected) and then seeing Humphrey Bogart (which is less so). Seeing Star Trek in color for the first time in 1967 at my grandparents' house (a small miracle in that they only could receive a few stations with a good antenna given the mountains and such in that beautiful and then two-season Great Barrington MA).
I'm reminded of this today while looking through a decorating pamphlet by Johns-Manville from 1941. The images of the interiors of the Standard American Home started out in the pamphlet in black and white, and then, suddenly, came the appearance of color--and a lot of it, and in unexpected combinations. And then: unexpected colors in the unexpected color. And in this case, perhaps the new color scheme is not one that is today seen as a beautiful thing.
Color in magazines and journals and newspaper was of great rarity before 1939, as color roll film was really introduced until the mid-20's, and then the first book illustrated with color photographs didn't appear until I think 1938 (was it an Agfa catalog, or Zeiss?). In any event, the book/pamphlet illustrated with color photos was still a very newish thing when these photos appeared in the Johns-Manville The Home Idea Book 1of 1941
It is an unusual exercise--for me, anyway, a mostly b+w guy--to imagine these colors, together. It is also surprising because my experience with so many of these catalogs is from an earlier period and the majority of them were illustrated with black and white photos or color drawings, or colorized photos. To see the color of the real walls and doors and tiles and carpeting is jarring.
1. This pamphlet is also one from my purchase of a collection held at the Library of Congress called "The Pamphlet Collection", a large and unwieldy and difficult and wonderful assembly of bits and pieces. This is also one of the pamphlets transferred to the LC from the Copyright Office and one of the very few to still have its routing card from them--I'm reproducing it here because it may be of some interest to book folks.
And from another post, a color note on floors:
(from The Very Describable Macro Color of 1930's Floors--Well...Color, Symbolism and Swastikas in Floor