Newly discovered! The earliest color motion pictures

Lying dormant in the archive of Britain’s National Media Museum for decades, what everyone thought were black and white films, turned out to be the first color motion pictures ever made. British photographer Edward Turner made the films using his 1899 patented color film process in about 1903, shortly before his untimely death:

A complicated process, it involved photographing successive frames of black-and-white film through blue, green and red filters. Using a special projector…these were combined on a screen to produce full-colour images.

Highlights of these never-before-shared test films can now be seen on YouTube via our 21st-century RGB screens, and of course, at the museum itself, where the specially-formatted projector can be viewed as well.

Thanks to GLIMPSE subscriber, Francis H., for sharing this with GLIMPSE readers! A very well-timed discovery with our Cinema issue.

Che Guevara: Life after Death Part 1

Che Guevara mural in Havana from Library of Congress Archives

by Myya McGregory

Chevolution” is a documentary on Che Guevara and the journey of his iconic image. The film makes the case that Che was not only an important figure in the history of Cuba and revolution but also in the history of photography and art.

Che was an Argentine doctor who left his middle class life to join the fight against poverty and corruption being waged by guerilla regiments across South and Central America. Scholars say he was strongly motivated by the rampant poverty he witnessed in his travels. With his interest in Marxism it was no surprise that Che would end up joining Fidel Castro’s “Movimiento 26 de Julio” to take down the long reigning Batista regime in Cuba.

Che was a very well liked figure. He was charismatic, skilled in combat, intelligent, he led by example, and he was the type of activist that Cuba needed at the time.

While aiding in a Bolivian rebellion against Rene Barrientos Ortuño in 1967, Che was killed  by a group of CIA trained guerilla fighters.

Che’s life was profoundly influential in Latin American politics, and his legacy in the arts also continues to intrigue.

A lover of  photography himself, Che insisted on documenting every step of the revolution. When he attended a mass memorial for victims of a terrorist attack at the Plaza de Revolución, Alberto Korda, fashion photographer extraordinaire, snapped the iconic image that would travel around the world inciting revolution in ways that Che could have only imagined.

At the time the Leica M2 was one of the best cameras on the market. Made by a German optics company, the Leica M2 used regular 35 mm film, groundbreaking parallax compensation, and focal-plane shutter.

Leica M2 from Flickr by Shane Lin

Using celluloid film (which had been around for almost a century at that point) and homemade developing solution, Korda and the other photographers traveling with Che would develop, enlarge, and print their own images.

Che came along in a time when photography was becoming more public. Nitrate based celluloid film was no longer commercailly available by the early 1950s because it was highly flammable and toxic. In fact the Northeast Document Conservation Center points out that because cellulose nitrate was so unstable, many of the images taken on this film have deteriorated drastically. It is more likely that Korda took his iconic photo using 35mm acetate based celluloid film. Cellulose acetate was considerably less toxic that cellulose nitrate however its decomposition was equally as autocatalytic and just as caustic (it would produce vinegar as a byproduct in decomposition). Luckily for Korda, copying negatives of photos was a relatively simple process and creating an interpositive could lessen the risk of diluting the image quality along the way. It seems that Che  lived at just the right time in photographic history.

How would history would have changed if Che arrived in different place along the photographic history timeline? What about other leaders and cultural/historical icons?

Flickr Fave Friday!

There’s no place like home, and this stunning photo has one in GLIMPSE‘s “Color” issue.

Courtesy of Flickr Member: lilivanili

Follow the yellow brick road to the rest of the photographer’s photostream here.

Flickr Fave Friday!

Courtesy of Flickr member: Steve Snodgrass

Check out Steve Snodgrass‘ photo in action in “Cartography,” where it accompanies GLIMPSE‘s interview with neuroscientist Giuseppe Iaria.

Happy wayfinding!

Study Imaging Science at MIT for $0 a day

Digital refocusing is a computational photography technique that allows one to change the focus point in an image after capture, using additional data collected through camera enhancements such as a coded aperture mask. (Image by Prof. Ramesh Raskar.)

September’s here, and it’s time to put the thinking cap back on. No need to enroll or pay tuition…or to do homework. Official students, garage tinkerers, lifelong learners, and the generally curious can learn about the latest in imaging technology from the MIT Professor Ramesh Raskar. Now available via MIT’s (visionary) Open Courseware site:

“Computational Camera and Photography”

Thanks, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Raskar, for sharing your knowledge with everyone that’s interested!

Check out more DIY MIT courses here:

Hmmmm… imaging technology not your thing?

How about:

“Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking?”


“Laboratory in Visual Cognition?”


Photographers, Do You Have a Vision?

Submit your photographs for possible feature on the cover of the GLIMPSE vol 3.1 issue

Photographers, do you have a vision?

Share it with GLIMPSE journal’s international readers by entering for a chance to win the GLIMPSE Visions Flickr Photo Contest!  Your submissions must work within this issue’s theme, “Visions,” which will investigate:

seeing or imagining physically inexplicable forms, beings or events in personal, creative, social or religious contexts.

We are looking for unique and creative artists’ interpretation of the theme and encourage you to caption your image with an explanation of why you believe your photograph best represents “Visions”.

Prizes: The winning image, chosen by the GLIMPSE journal editorial and creative staff, will be featured on the back cover of the Spring 2010 Visions issue. The winning photographer will receive a free print copy of the issue, and a free 2-year electronic subscription to GLIMPSE.  Second and third place photographs will be featured on the GLIMPSE journal blog and the photographers will receive a free 1-year electronic subscription to GLIMPSE.

To enter: Upload your photograph/s to your Flickr account and then email the photo URL/s to with “Flickr Contest Submission” in the subject line. Please include a brief explanation of why your image/s relate to the theme of Visions.

Deadline for submissions: April 23, Extended to May 9, 2010, 11:59PM

GLIMPSE journal | the art + science of seeing
GLIMPSE is a quarterly, electronic, and print-on-demand journal that examines the art and science of seeing.  It was founded in 2007 by managing editor and publisher, Megan Hurst. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, GLIMPSE features contributors from around the world and has an international readership. Each theme-focused issue features articles, visual essays, interviews, and reviews spanning the physical sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.  Growing quickly, GLIMPSE currently has over 3,000 international readers per issue, and over 100,000 page views per issue.

To preview the latest issue of GLIMPSE or for more information please visit