The image above is a digital photo of a projected “Magic Lantern” glass slide that was digitally scanned which DoN compressed for viewing on the web, a long way for a photo to travel. April 14th, 2010 The Geographic Society Of Philadelphia invited members of The Photographic Society of Philadelphia to view glass slides of a travelogue through Japan by Charles R. Pancoast, an early member of PSoP, from the beginning of the 20th Century in Franklin Hall @ The Franklin Institute.
The invitation only viewing of the slides, not seen since the 1960s, was hosted by Senior Curator of Collections, John V. Alvin, who explained the origins of glass slide projections with the “Magic Lantern” and guided our tour of absolutely exquisite, engrossing, detailed, immediate, gloriously colorful photographs of life, architecture, landscape and fashion in early 1900s Japan.
Example of a “Magic Lantern” projector which allowed glass slides with hand-colored positive photographs to be projected on a wall in the dark with light from a candle. Magic Lantern shows became a popular form of public entertainment before the advent of electricity and entrepreneurs could purchase a lantern with a set of slides and booklets which allowed them to present guided travelogues, traveling town to town putting on shows like the tour GSoP & PSoP members viewed at The Franklin Institute.
This beautiful image is of a dancer performing in a pagoda displays the beauty, grace, architecture, aesthetics, and quality of life in pre-war Japan as well as exhibiting the high quality of Pancoast’s photography loaded with immediacy, gorgeous composition and technical virtuosity. Charles Pancoast operated a successful glass slide development business, producing his own slides as well as other photographers, he became a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia in 1877, serving as secretary and participating in the photography section of the Franklin Institute.
This slide is of “The Polar Stars”, Captain Roald Amundsen, Sir Ernest H. Shackleton and Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary in a historic meeting of the famous polar explorers at The Franklin Institute. The Photographic Society has a long relationship with The Franklin Institute, DoN picked up an invitation to a PSoP meeting at 1305 Arch St, June 20th, 1888 – the conversation was about “the reproduction of negatives” and ” a new developer – Hydroxylamine and Pyro” – PSoP, the 2nd oldest photography club in the world, still holds monthly meetings at The Plastic Club on Camac Street, continuing the long conversation about photography which has been going on in Philly since the beginning of the development of this “magical” technology.