In 1908the French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn launched one of the most ambitious projects in the history of photography. A pacifist, internationalist and utopian idealist, Kahn decided to use his private fortune to improve understanding between the nations of the world. To this end, he created what he called his Archive of the Planet. For the next two decades, he dispatched professional photographers to document the everyday lives of people in more than 50 countries all around the world. Kahn’s wealth enabled him to supply his photographers with the most advanced camera technology available. They used the autochrome – the first user – friendly camera system capable of producing true – colour photographs. Some of the most important of all the 72,000 colour images in Kahn’s Archive were shot during three separate visits (in 1908, 1912 and 1926) to Japan.