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Rare Vintage Photos of Early 20th Century Paris

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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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Never Buy Drawing Paper Again With This Endlessly Reusable Art Notebook
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Art supplies can get pricey when you’re letting your kid’s creativity run wild. But with an endlessly reusable notebook, you never have to worry about running out of paper during that after-school coloring session.

The creators of the erasable Rocketbook Wave have come out with a new version of their signature product meant especially for color drawings. The connected Rocketbook Color notebook allows you to send images drawn on its pages to Google Drive or other cloud services with your phone, then erase the pages by sticking the whole notebook in the microwave. You get a digital copy of your work (one that, with more vibrant colors, might look even better than the original) and get to go on drawing almost immediately after you fill the book.

An animated view of a notebook’s pages changing between different drawings.

There’s no special equipment involved beyond the notebook itself. The Rocketbook Color works with Crayola and other brands’ washable crayons and colored pencils, plus dry-erase markers. The pages are designed to be smudge-proof, so turning the page won’t ruin the art on the other side even if you are using dry-erase markers.

Rocketbook’s marketing is aimed at kids, but adults like to save paper, too. Break away from the adult coloring books and go free-form. If it doesn’t quite work out, you can just erase it forever.

The notebooks are $20 each on Kickstarter.

All images courtesy Rocketbook

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This Amazing Clock Has a Different Hand for Every Minute of the Day
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In the video below, you can watch Japanese ad agency Dentsu transform passing time into art. According to Adweek, the project was commissioned by Japanese stationery brand Hitotoki, which produces crafting materials. To celebrate the value of handmade items in an increasingly fast-paced world, Dentsu created a film advertisement for their client depicting their goods as a stop-motion clock.

The timepiece ticks off all 1440 minutes in the day, and was assembled in real-time against a colored backdrop during a single 24-hour take. Its "hands" were crafted from different combinations of some 30,000 disparate small items, including confetti, cream puffs, tiny toys, silk leaves, and sunglasses.

"In a world where everything is so hectic and efficient, we wanted to bring the value of 'handmade' to life," explains Dentsu art director Ryosuke Miyashita in a press statement quoted by Stash Media. "We created different combinations of small Hitotoki brand items to express each and every minute."

You can check out a promotional video for the project below, which details the arduous crafting process, or view a real-time version of the clock here.

[h/t Adweek]


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