early-color

In The Impossible Voyage (1904, dir. Georges Méliès), a group of intrepid explorers fly into outer space in a rocket-train hybrid, only to accidentally fly straight into the yawning mouth of the rising sun (this film, like most of Méliès’s color films, was hand painted by a team of women in a production-line method - the coloring was done frame by frame)

The Red Spectre (1907, dir. Segundo de Chomón, Ferdinand Zecca)

In the film, a demonic magician performs a series of magic tricks, including trapping miniaturized people in bottles (the scene above is online here).

The film was shot in black-and-white, and colors were later applied using stencils, a mechanical process that replaced the more labor intensive hand-tinting

(via)

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Gordon Parks, early color in Paris

I came across this blog post lamenting contemporary auto design, using a 1940s auto show in Paris as evidence of the decline. I was curious about the Life magazine photos, which are what is often called “early color,” and found a separate blog post with the same photos, which are by Yael Joel

I did my own search in the Life archive (using the phrase “auto show” instead of “automobile show”) and came across a separate collection of Paris auto show photos from the Grand Palais, but these are by Gordon Parks. The photos look similar, same location, similar era cars, same color transparency film. Did Life send two photographers to cover the same auto show in Paris? No, the brand banners in Joel’s photos are set in black type, Parks’ are red. Most of the Parks photos are square, which could indicate he used a Rolleiflex. The Google photo interface is primitive and the Life watermarks are a pebble in your shoe, especially considering they are watermarking mediocre scans with no attempt at white balance. I’ve corrected a few here.

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