This paper discusses the history of the (controversial) first color photographic process in the world: The unfixed ‘color’ daguerreotypes (called Hillotypes) of American photographer Levi Hill. The author visited the Smithsonian Institution to examine the largest collection of 62 Hillotypes. Although the process was dismissed and discredited through the history of photography, Modern Hillotypes were successfully produced by Joseph Boudreau and his experiments were presented at an international conference in 1987. In spite of modern recreation, how the process actually works to produce natural colors remains something of a mystery.
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Corrine Dune was an ARP fellow from 2003 to 2005. This independent study and her capstone project, Care of Rare and Unusual Photographs: A Methodology, resulted from Dune's interest in early experimental color photography. Corrine Dune is currently a conservator in private practice in San Marco, Texas.