Writing in the British Journal of Photography Monthly Supplement on Colour Photography, the photographer J. C. Warburg reported a lecture by Meys presented to the Anglo – French Association at the Grafton Galleries. Warburg wrote that Meys brought with him a large selection of the 800 Autochromes he had already made by October 1908, a truly staggering number of plates so soon after their commercial introduction. Warburg went on to describe a number of images but paid special attention to one in particular: “A girl at a table, lighted only by a petroleum lamp with a red shade, told a tale of endurance. The girl sat for twenty – two minutes. The result was excellent.”
Unlike many nudes of this period, the model in this particular image appears relaxed. She is not forced into some contorted vision of an Orientalist fantasy. Meys thus presents the viewer with a rather interesting paradox: a modern woman, relaxed, confident, self-assured, and yet someone who is quite foreign to our time. But perhaps not so different than ourselves.
As early as 1914, and increasingly during the twenties and thirties, Meys was presenting, to an accompaniment of recitation and music, public performances of his projections, particularly his work with nudes. Dubbed a “photochromist”, Meys was lauded for his powers of artistic, and, some would say, painterly compositions. Meys, who was undoubtedly working to find a new art form, married his picture projections to poems by Chénier, Musset, Gautier, Jammes and others and even went as far as to add singing and dancing to his enthusiastically received presentations. This aspect of his work can be considered a forerunner of modern multimedia presentations.
“When I was examining some of the Autochromes at the Royal Photography Society last year I was asked by a well-known photographic scientist whether I did not think that a technician would produce better Autochromes than a pictorialist. My reply was that to avoid the distressing juxtaposition of conflicting colours, such as was visible in some of the exhibits, the artist’s eye was even more needed than it was in monochrome work.
The truth of what I advanced was fully brought to me when witnessing Monsieur Meys magnificent Autochrome pictures at Cannes on April 6 .”
— J. C. Warburg. “‘Monsieur Meys’ Autochrome Pictures, May 1, 1908.