Madame Yevonde’s most famous series ‘The Goddesses’ – sensuality and symbolism in the pictures of aristocratic ladies in 1935, transformed into beguiling mythical characters, still having a distinctly ‘modern’ feel.
The British photographer of portraits and still-life from the early 20th century, Madame Yevonde (1893 – 1975), was a pioneer of the colour photography using the complicated and costly but unusually sophisticated Vivex process.
The VIVEX process was a subtractive process, invented by the research chemist Dr. Douglas Arthur Spencer (1901 – 1979) and produced by the British company Colour Photography Ltd of Willesden. It employed three negative plates – cyan, magenta and yellow that were exposed and processed separately. After processing, the three negatives were printed on top of one another by hand to obtain the final print. This fact gave Madame Yevonde the freedom to experiment with different forms of colour manipulation, prior to the digital age.
The company was in business from 1928 until the start of World War II in 1939 when closed down during the war and never to re-open. Within these years Madame Yevonde worked closely with the inventor and the laboratory technicians to refine the process and extend its already highly sophisticated capabilities.