Early 16mm colour by a career amateur

Kaveh Askari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Beginning with his public lectures and books on amateur photography in the 1890s, Alexander Black (1859-1940) combined personal photography of his family and technical experimentation with various printing, projection, and colour processes. He made a career out of simultaneously showcasing the sensational aspects of these new technologies and assuaging concerns that they might harm American moral character. This essay identifies an approach to 'colour craft' across all aspects of Black's work and in the institutions his work helped to foster. As art director and then Sunday editor for the lavishly illustrated New York World in the first decade of the twentieth century, Black remained at the center of debates about the potential harm caused by the proliferation of colour and illustration in American popular culture. Films subsequently made by Black are significant for the history of amateur colour cinema because in them he experimented with applied, additive, and subtractive colour processes with the same thoroughness as his more famous media experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-163
Number of pages14
JournalFilm History: An International Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Alexander black
  • Amateur cinema
  • Kodachrome
  • Kodacolor
  • New York world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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