Animating Mathew Brady: Civil War Era Photographs in Motion

I wish I’d checked out the Mathew Brady collection at the National Archives a lot sooner.  For the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with techniques for animating historical photographs, and I’ve had difficulty finding suitable material to experiment on—especially groups of three or more pictures taken at the same time from different perspectives.  It…

Early Motion Pictures of Eclipses (1639-1880)

Motion pictures of specific historical eclipses exist dating back more than 375 years.  In this post, I’ll present some of the oldest surviving examples for viewing in motion for the first time (as far as I’m aware): eleven from the seventeenth century, four from the eighteenth century, and six from the nineteenth century.  That makes…

The Fashionable Face: A Work in Progress

I’ve been exploring the possibilities of historical face-averaging here for some time now—that is, “averaging” groups of facial images from successive periods and then arranging them into timelines so that we can compare them side by side or, better yet, watch historical trends unfolding before our eyes as video animations.  The reason it’s been a…

Time-Based Graphs as Moving Pictures (1786-1878)

The wavy lines of time-based graphs can easily be converted into audio, as I explained in an earlier post.  But we can also convert them into video, and in fact sound recordings were being played back as moving pictures in the 1860s, long before anyone had played one back as sound—another notable difference being that…

Eye Reflections as Accidental Stereoviews

The eyes, it’s said, are the mirror of the soul.  But they also serve as mirrors more literally: we can see things reflected in them.  And when we’re looking at two eyes side by side, we can often see the same things reflected in both at once, from slightly different vantage points—nature’s own stereoviews!  With…