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Rare Vintage Photos of Early 20th Century Paris

Paris1914.com
Paris1914.com

In 1903, Auguste and Louis Lumière invented a technology that changed not only how photographs were made, but also how people were able to see the world. They called it autochrome, and it became the first generally available process for color photography; before it, snapping color pictures required a photographer to set up three cameras that each used a separate color filter and superimpose them into one photo. The Lumières' invention utilized the potato (or, as these Frenchmen would have said, la pomme de terre) to capture images in what would now be considered a complicated process—but at that time, it was a dramatic step forward in technology.

Experimenting in their family’s factory, which already made black-and-white plates to be widely used by the public, the brothers grabbed some potatoes and started peeling. They ground the vegetable into tiny grains and separated the grains into three batches, dyeing some red-orange, some green, and some blue. The dyed particles were thoroughly mixed, then doused over a glass slide that had just been coated in a varnish. More varnish was added on top of the particles and then the slide was coated with a photography emulsion—a light-sensitive coating of bromide floating in gelatin. The potato particles acted as a filter while a photo was being taken, recording the intensity of light in each of the three colors.

Auteuil metro station on May 1, 1920. Photo courtesy Paris 1914.

The brothers found that their process worked. There was just one trick: When shooting an image, the subject had to remain perfectly still for the required exposure time of 60 seconds. The photograph that resulted was reminiscent of a pointillist painting—a technique where an artist uses tiny dots of various colors to create an image—but was still a vibrant photograph for the time. The Lumières patented the process in 1903 and unveiled it in 1907.

Now, rare photographs of Paris in the early 20th century that used the Lumières’ innovative process have emerged through the Paris 1914 project, a site dedicated to autochrome photography of Paris that showcases some of the images from the Albert-Khan Museum.

Aubert Palace in 1925. Photo courtesy Paris 1914.

You can check out more of the photographs here.

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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