Self-portrait photograph of Olive Edis

Contributed by Cromer Museum

Self-portrait photograph of Olive Edis.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Olive Edis was an outstanding photographer who pioneered new photographic techniques in the early decades of the 20th century. In particular, she pioneered autochrome photography, the first true colour photographic process.

Edis photographed a wide variety of British society from royalty and famous people of her day, to Norfolk fishermen's wives.

She was appointed an official war artist (the only official woman photographer) and photographed British Women's Services and the battlefields of France and Flanders between 1914-19 for the Imperial War Museum.

In 1920 she was commissioned to create advertising photographs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and her autochromes are believed to be some of the earliest colour photographs of that country.

Her portraits are notable for her use of light and shadow and her instinctive ability to get the best from her subjects. Her portraits include sensitive studies of north Norfolk's fishermen.

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