Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Magic Lantern Project....

I've been quietly amassing a collection of Magic Lantern slides recently...these snapshots from the past encased in glass have a slightly unnerving, haunting quality to them.
All subjects seem to have been tackled at some point or another; Architectural details, Landscape, Portraiture, Group activities and even Staged stories told in a series of slides.
The quality in general is fantastic, very sharp, lots of contrast. Most of them are Monochrome but a few have been hand painted directly onto the glass (something that was also done with postcards of a similar period),
even the faded murky slides still maintain their sense of time and fact even more so. Staring at some of these people and places you start to wonder if you've somehow entered an episode of "Sapphire & Steel"

The intention of starting this collection was to begin a project of cleaning, preserving and recording these fragile documents, However, I soon discovered that they cannot simply be "scanned" using a conventional scanner. The slides are created by transferring the image onto a slide of glass and then placing another slide of glass on top. These are then bound together with the image safely sandwiched in the middle...this means that trying to scan them produces all manner of unwanted shadows and reflections.

Bring on Plan B.

As a Photographer I own a quite a bit of equipment, including a very good Macro Lens...combine this with a Tripod, a Light Box and loads of experimentation and time and et voila!! success...

At last I can begin to document this strange land of the past....

The first four slides follow (I hope I get took about 2 hours to photograph and "develop" just these 4!)


Mark Back

PS: More info about Magic Lantern Slides can be found here

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