The Collective Picture

Vintage Photography Redefined

admin On November - 14 - 2009

This past Halloween I was lucky enough to see the silent film Nosferatu accompanied by the Vancouver Orchestra. The scenes of coffins, death and creatures stalking in the night made me jump as music filled the room. The tension of some of the eerier scenes were then quickly broken as the audience laughed at the exaggerated facial expressions of the silent film performers. The movie, as a reel of images that is exactly the same as when it was filmed, is brought into a new light by the performance of live music. Bringing the static into a dynamic presence as a historical piece of film comes to life with each note building with the plot. As a viewer it is a very different sensation then how I have come to experience movies, with all the usual Hollywood glamour and special effects.  Reminiscent of a time when going to the movies was something special and unique in a time devoid of the media overloads we have today. In keeping with this performance I have stumbled across images from the silent film era in the Flickr Commons and Library of Congress. Although lacking the presence of what it is like to watch these films live these photographs do still capture some of the unique qualities that this cinematic history holds.

Enjoy

1913 italian silent film quo vadis Silent Filmarts

Scene from the 1913 Italian silent film Quo Vadis?. Logo of Italian studio Cines appears in left corner of image. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c36900

1913 silent film pompeii Silent FilmartsScene from the silent film “The last days of Pompeii” showing priests and citizens worshipping a statue] Copyright 1913 by Photo Drama Co. The last days of Pompeii, after the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, was an Italian production released through George Kleine. It was an elaborate tableaux drama film rich in costume, portraying events in Pompeii in 79 A.D. Directed by Mario Caserini and Eleuterio Rodolfi.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c33141

1914 just mother Silent Filmarts Just Mother (cinema 1914) The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Division. digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-25214

1914 the saint and the singer film Silent Filmarts

The Saint and the Singer (Cinema 1914). The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Division. digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-48893

1914_josie's_coney_island_nightmare

Josie’s Coney Island Nightmare (cinema 1914). The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Division. digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-24714

1915 silent film curse of the dessert Silent Filmarts

The Curse of the Desert (cinema 1915). The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Division.digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-06461

1915 the cheat silent film Silent Filmarts

The Cheat (cinema 1915). The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Billy Rose Theatre Division. digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-02093

1916 motion picture Silent Filmarts

Motion picture scene (1916). This image was collected by filmmaker William “Billy” Bletcher (1894-1979) while working for the Vim Comedy Company between 1915 and 1917. The small film studio was based in Jacksonville and New York. The company produced hundreds of two-reel comedies (over 156 comedies in 1916 alone). Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver Hardy, Ethel Burton, Walter Stull, Arvid Gillstrom, and Kate Price. State Library and Archives of Florida. http://ibistro.dos.state.fl.us/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/x/0/5?library=PHOTO&item_type=PHOTOGRAPH&searchdata1=PR07301

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