The Magical Power of Early Color Photography

February 22, 2013 § 1 Comment

autochrome-maynard-owen-william-bateaux-sur-la-plage-par-temps-d-orage-rowboatson-beach-southern-franceI recently discovered the Autochrome: the world’s first color process photography. I imagined color photography prior to Techicolor (the visually rich world of mid-century films like Gone With The Wind and National Velvet), would represent an either extreme or muted version of reality. However, the Autochrome’s subtle texture and soft hues capture something so real and vivid about the world that I now see digital photography as a bit more stark and sterile. Over a hundred years since their capture, these autochromes still feel alive and vital.
I would love to fill a wall with these photographs. They would enrich any room, and the lives of it’s inhabitants.

autochrome DSK77-AUTOCHROME-1822 Louis Ducos du Hauron - Duhauron1877 Autochrome 13x18 v3A Brief History

(From npr.com) In 1903, the Lumiere brothers patented the first commercially successful color process, which they called the Autochrome Lumiere. It involved glass plates, a backlight, soot and (oddly) potato starch — and it revolutionized photography. Magazines like National Geographic started dispatching photographers to shoot with autochromes; documentary fieldwork became more feasible with this relatively portable medium. For about 30 years, it was the most widely used process for capturing color.

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Why You Love The Blues: Set Design Magic by Eve Stewart

November 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

BBC’s miniseries “The Hour”, now in it’s second season, represents some of the most daring and exacting set design on television. Oscar-nominated production design master (and a professional hero to me), Eve Stewart, brings her talents to this 6-episode drama. Best known for her work on “The King’s Speech”, Stewart creates a lush but subtle world set in in 1950s London.

Photos by OhSuchAPrimaDonna

Stewart balances the use of aqua blues with patterned and textured warm tones. The show’s drama unfolds mostly in the newsroom and it’s offices, painted in shades of grey and blue which evoke logic, modernity, and organization. We see warm colors, wallpaper and fabrics in more private scenes, driven by minor characters or extravagant behavior and events.

I love nearly everything about BBC’s “The Hour”: it’s characters, the writing and the tone. But most of all, I love the visual treasure Stewart has created, in which almost any screen shot or production still could function as a study for an Edward Hopper painting. Each scene in “The Hour” really is a work of art.

Stewart, perhaps best known for her work on “The King’s Speech”, also served as the art director for the upcoming production of Les Miserables. The acting, singing and directing will all be wonderful, I’m sure, but I’m most looking forward to the background.

Hallway from “The King’s Speech”

Stewart’s Production Sketch for “Upstairs Downstairs”, Courtesy of PBS

Little Miss Muffit

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Little Miss Muffit

Litle Miss Muffit actually sat on a Tuffet! So great. More photos coming soon!!

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