FYI August 17, 2018


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On This Day

1908 – Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, created by Émile Cohl, is shown in Paris, France.
Fantasmagorie is a 1908 French animated film by Émile Cohl. It is one of the earliest examples of traditional (hand-drawn) animation, and considered by film historians to be the first animated cartoon.[1]


The film largely consists of a stick man moving about and encountering all manner of morphing objects, such as a wine bottle that transforms into a flower which becomes an elephant. There are also sections of live action where the animator’s hands enters the scene. The main character is drawn by the artist’s hand on camera, and the main characters are a clown and a gentleman. Other characters include a woman in a film theater wearing a large hat with gigantic feathers.

The film, in all of its wild transformations, is a direct tribute to the by-then forgotten Incoherent movement. The title is a reference to the fantasmograph, a mid-Nineteenth Century variant of the magic lantern that projected ghostly images that floated across the walls.

Cohl worked on Fantasmagorie from February to either May or June 1908. Despite the short running time, the piece was packed with material devised in a stream of consciousness style. The film was released on August 17, 1908.


The film was created by drawing each frame on paper and then shooting each frame onto negative film, which gave the picture a blackboard look. It was made up of 700 drawings, each of which was exposed twice (animated “on twos”), leading to a running time of almost two minutes. It borrowed from J. Stuart Blackton, the chalk-line effect; filming black lines on white paper, then reversing the negative to make it look like white chalk on a black chalkboard. Blackton and Cohl also borrowed some techniques from Georges Méliès, such as the stop trick.
By Émile Cohl: Fantasmagorie

Born On This Day

1920 – Lida Moser, American photographer and author (d. 2014)
Lida Moser (August 17, 1920 – August 12, 2014) was an American-born photographer and author, with a career that spanned more than six decades, before retiring in her 90s. She was known for her photojournalism and street photography as a member of both the Photo League [1] and the New York School. Her portfolio includes black and white commercial, portrait and documentary photography, with her work continuing to have an impact.

The Photo League was an early center of American documentary photography in the post war years, with membership including many of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. In a retrospective at the Fraser Gallery in Washington DC, she was described as a pioneer in the field of photojournalism.[2]





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