Author(s): Charlotte Fiell
The Magic Lantern was the forerunner of the modern slide projector and part of the wonderful tradition of optical projection alongside the Camera Obscura, Shadow Shows and the Magic Mirror. Long before cameras became commonplace, Magic Lanterns were used to capture images that could then be shown to an audience, to entertain and educate. Intrepid photographers would travel the world to document its people and places, from the ancient temples and tombs of Egypt to the factories and furnaces of industrialized Germany in the 19th century. A devotee of the Magic Lantern, Charlotte Fiell has painstakingly trawled through thousands of slides to put together a collection of 900 images that depict a pre-globalized world where regional customs and cultures were as distinctive as they were diverse, while the renowned geographical historian, James Ryan has assessed their cultural relevance and historical context. Here are depicted the bustling streets of Victorian London and the strangely tourist-free Taj Mahal of the 1890s. Sariclad carpet weavers in India gaze perplexed at the camera while giant statues of the Buddha smile enigmatically in Burma.
These hand-coloured images are beautiful yet poignant, evoking a world now lost in the mists of time.
Charlotte Fiell studied at the British Institute (Florence), Camberwell College of Arts (London) and Sotheby's Educational Studies (London). Together with her husband, Peter, she has written and edited over 30 internationally bestselling books on all aspects of design. James R. Ryan is Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter. An acknowledged expert in colonial and post-colonial geography and photography, his research has been funded by among others, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Geographical Society. He has also lectured widely, including at Harvard University Art Museums and the Yale Center for British Art.
Introduction by Charlotte Fiell; Introduction by James R. Ryan; Northern Europe; Eastern Europe; Western Europe; Southern Europe; Northern Africa; Central & Eastern Africa; Southern Africa; The Middle East; Southern Asia; Eastern Asia; South Eastern Asia; Oceania; Antarctica; South America; Central America; United States of America; Canada; Alaska.