Magic Lantern Slides as Artifacts
The magic lantern slides have a physical presence all their own. To create a slide, each image is transferred from a photographic negative to a small glass plate, and then hand-painted with a transparent pigment. Nearly a century after their creation, the images are sharp and vivid. Individual slides are edged in black paper. This edging crisply frames the image, provides a place to grip the glass without damaging the transfer or pigment, and allows for labelling. Nevertheless, many slides bear the imprint of handlers' fingers, scratches and other marks. Some are imperfections inherent to the medium, while other marks originate from their storage and the wear of use.
This collection shows a selection of magic lantern slides in full, to contextualize the images with their framing and labels, in addition to a close view of a slide that has been damaged in transit or handling. As a whole, these highlight both the fragility and resilience of the medium.