Sunday, September 30, 2012

Restoration of the First Color Film

The first moving picture captured in color 110 years ago has just been scanned and restored. It's an interesting process the photographer went through to create "color" images.

A bit about the video and the original process:

Lee and Turner's invention has always been regarded by film historians as a practical failure but it has now been 'unlocked' through digital technology, revealing the images produced by the process for the first time in over a hundred years.

Turner developed his complex three-colour process with support, first from Lee and then from the American film entrepreneur, Charles Urban. Using a camera and projector made by Brighton-based engineer Alfred Darling, Turner developed the process sufficiently to take various test films of colourful subjects such as a macaw, a goldfish in a bowl against a brightly striped background and his children playing with sunflowers, before his death in 1903 aged just 29. Urban went on to develop the process further with the pioneer film-maker George Albert Smith which resulted in the commercially successful Kinemacolor system, patented in 1906 and first exhibited to the public in 1909. Sadly, Turner's widow never received a penny from her husband's invention.

On discovering the film, Michael Harvey, Curator of Cinematography at the National Media Museum, worked with film archive experts Brian Pritchard and David Cleveland to reconstruct the moving footage in colour following the precise method laid out in Lee and Turner's 1899 patent. They turned to experts at the BFI National Archive who were able to undertake the delicate work of transforming the film material into digital files, and so the team were able to watch these vivid colour moving pictures for the first time, over one hundred years since they had been made.

Friday, September 28, 2012

JPG Humor

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

The idea of "photographic truth" has always interested me. I wrote my MFA Thesis (entitled "What's So Documentary About Photography?") on photographers from the 1900s through the 1940s working under the guise of making "truthful documentary images," even though they were able to create images that fit their needs perfectly - whether "truthful" or not. I was wanting to show that photographic images considered to be "truth" need to be questioned... even before Photoshop.

The MET has a new show that is along these lines. It's not exactly what I was writing about, but it deals with old faked imagery:

In the first major exhibition of its kind, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has collected some 200 visually captivating photographs taken between the 1840s and 1990s - all of which have been manipulated.

'Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop' is devoted to the history of manipulated photography before the digital age and traces the medium’s complex and changing relationship to visual truth.

Here are a few images from the exhibition:

Dream No. 1: 'Electrical Appliances for the Home' by Grete Stern ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print

Man Juggling His Own Head: De Torb├ęchet, Allain & C. ca. 1880 by Saint Thomas D'Aquin Albumen silver print

Lenin and Stalin: Unknown Artist, Russian 1949 Gelatin silver print with applied media

A Powerful Collision: Unknown Artist, German School 1910s Gelatin silver print

Hearst Over The People: 1939 by Barbara Morgan

Room with Eye: 1930 by Maurice Tabard and Roger Parry Gelatin silver print

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model: 1892 by Maurice Guibert Gelatin silver print

Fading Away: Henry Peach Robinson 1858 Albumen silver print from glass negatives

Dirigible Docked on Empire State Building: Unknown Artist, American 1930 Gelatin silver print

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Hipster Alphabet

This is fantastic. And true.

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