The first color photograph was taken in 1861 by photographer Thomas Sutton under direct supervision of James Clerk Maxwell –the famous 19th century Scottish mathematician and theoretical physicist who authored the Maxwell Equations.

Maxwell discovered that color photographs could be formed using red, green, and blue filters. He had the photographer Thomas Sutton photograph a tartan ribbon three times, each time with a different color filter over the lens. The three images were developed and then projected onto a screen with three different projectors, each equipped with the same color filter used to take its image. When brought into focus, the three images formed a full color image. The three photographic plates now reside in a small museum at 14 India Street, Edinburgh, the house where Maxwell was born.

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