November 06, 2006

Meet the press

Posted by: Karyn Gregory

Friday was my first chance to take a peek at the Vanished Kingdoms exhibit. I also had the opportunity to tag along during press interviews with Vanished Kingdoms author and curator, Mabel Cabot, whose mother was one of the American explorers who took many of the exhibit's photographs from 1921-1925 during expeditions through China and Tibet.

In an earlier blog, my colleague Rebecca said that a lot of the images looked like paintings instead of photographs. Mabel Cabot was able to explain how that effect was achieved: after the film had been turned into lantern slides, they were taken to a Chinese painter who painted directly on the slides to add color. The result is a fantastic, very surreal look at life in Tibet, Mongolia, and China.

These colors must be seen to be believed. If you make it, be sure to take a look at the silver shield image. The shield itself was probably made in the 12th c. CE and the detail of the photograph (heightened by the painting) is phenomenal.