Early Visual Media Links

I’m putting together some ideas for my SCMS workshop and came across this really useful web resource, Early Visual Media, which would have saved me a lot of time the last two weeks when I was talking with my Media and Hitsory students about daguerreotypes and other early forms of photography, as well as prot-cinematic devices such as the phenakistoscope, the magic lantern, and other optical toys (such as the thaumatrope).

I did get a chnace to show my students some of the cool materials archived on the Library of Congress website, including the amazing Farm Security Administration photos, which I could easily browse for hours, and this quick overview on the 19th century practice of taking daguerreotypes of dead family members (now that I’ve taught sections of Jeffery Sconce’s Haunted Media and this discussion of daguerreotypes, my students think I’m way too preoccupied with death).

At some point, I do want to think about what it means that we encounter these old media outside their original context (that is, the physical/material qualities of these older media), but for now, I just want to point towards some of these valuable resources.

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