Kimbei worked for and studied with Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried, the two most important European professional photographers in 19th century Japan. As a colorist and photographer his work is considered to be the best of the Meiji era. By the turn of the century Kimbei’s studio was the largest in Japan.
The photographs are beautifully hand-tinted albumen prints.
The albumen print, also called albumen silver print, was invented in 1850 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and was the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative. It used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper and became the dominant form of photographic positives from 1855 to the turn of the 20th century, with a peak in the 1860-90 period. (Wikipedia)