Night and Day: Illumination from behind…

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Carlo Ponti (attributed), General view of the Cathedral, Milan, ca. 1875

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Carlo Ponti (attributed), Palais et place d’ arms, Versailles, ca. 1875

The Megalethoscope was patented in 1862 by Swiss born Carlo Ponti (1823-1893). Ponti (not the husband of Sophia Loren), was an optician and photographer.
The hand-colored albumen and canvas slides, 11 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches, are an early form of animation. When they are illuminated from behind the static and placid landscape is transformed into a colorful, at times playful and fantastical, nocturnal tableau (transcending the temporal limitations of a single photograph and temporal excess of a structuralist film); more than a mirror with a memory, this is a photo with a future (and past).

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