The Paper Time Machine
By Wolfgang Wild and Jordan Lloyd
Imagine the past in colour? Now you don’t have to…
Publication date: October 2017Buy
Your Own Photograph Transformed into Colour
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Imagine the past in colour? Now you don’t have to…
The Paper Time Machine is a book that will change the way you think about the past.
The book will contain 130 historical photographs arranged chronologically, chosen and introduced by Wolfgang Wild, the creator and curator of the remarkable Retronaut website. That would be reason enough for a book – the site has become global phenomenon once it was launched in 2010, providing a stream of astonishing, sharable images that tear a hole in your map of time.
But The Paper Time Machine goes further. Each time-bending image chosen by Wolfgang have in turn been painstakingly restored and rendered in colour by Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome, a company that has taken the craft of colour reconstruction to a new level.
Each element in the monochrome images has been researched and colour checked for historical authenticity. As the layers of colour build up, the effect is disorientatingly real and the decades and centuries just fall away. It is as though we are standing at the original photographer’s elbow.
This is a unique book – a collection of historical ‘remixes’ that exist alongside the original photographs but draw out qualities, textures and details that have hitherto remained hidden. Each image will be accompanied by captions from Wolfgang on why the image matters and Jordan on how it was restored.
Brought to you by the team who published the international bestselling phenomenon, Letters of Note, The Paper Time Machine will be an exquisite 300 page object. Bound and printed on the best quality art paper, with two 8-page gatefolds, we are confident it will be the most important photographic book of the year.
And you can help us make it happen and get your name listed in the limited edition first run as a subscriber. Unbound, Retronaut, Dynamichrome and Getty Images all share a common vision. We believe making a book should be an adventure.
And what bigger adventure is there than going back in time…
279 x 246mm
124 5-colour images
130 gsm wood-free art paper with matt varnish
Stitched and bound in cloth
Head and tail bands
Wolfgang Wild is the creator of Retronaut - a brand that shows “the past like you wouldn’t believe”. In its article on Retronaut, Fast Company wrote: "Retronaut's images are chosen to make the viewer feel like they’re looking not at the past, but rather at a different version of the present." In 2014, Wild licensed Retronaut to Mashable and National Geographic published the first Retronaut book with two further books following in 2016. Number 20 on the Times of London’s list of the “50 people you should follow on Twitter”, Wild is guest curator for a range of digital and physical museums, and lives near Oxford, England, with his wife, Annie, and two children.
‘Enlightenment and wonder’ GUARDIAN
‘Web time-lords’ TOWN MAGAZINE
‘Retronaut. Amazing.’ INSTYLE MAGAZINE
‘Frozen fragments of time. This is the joy of Retronauting’ JONATHAN JONES, GUARDIAN
Jordan Lloyd is the director of Dynamichrome, a team of creative experts based in London and Cambridge. We are dedicated to sharing the stories behind some of history's greatest black and white photographs through digital colour reconstruction.
Early photographic technology lacked a crucial ingredient - colour - the gap between the world as we see it, and the abstract, black and white world we imagine. As early as the invention of the medium, skilled artisans applied colour to photographs by hand, making an attempt to convey the vibrancy and immediacy of life in colour.
Drag between the images to see them transformed.
July 1888: One year before the Paris World Fair for which it was created, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel's Tower stands one third complete. At 1,000 feet, it was eventually to become the tallest building in the world.
The original colour of the Eiffel Tower during its construction in 1888 was called 'Venetian Red' as shown in the photograph, applied in the workshop before being assembled on site. The tower has been repainted over a dozen times since in different shades ranging from a reddish brown to bronze.
Due to the increased blue sensitivity of the photographic emulsion used in the image, the sky appears much lighter and washed out, but the lack of cast shadows in the photograph suggest an overcast day.
Several paintings and picture postcards of the Exposition site were used as a reference for the background buildings, and the stonework of Port de la Bourdonnais on the Seine riverbank being constructed in the middle of the photograph are sampled from contemporary photographs.
1921: A pair of horn amplifiers at Bolling Air Field, Washington, USA. Such detectors, developed in response to the rise of military aircraft, were rendered obsolete by the arrival of radar.
The 99th Aero Squadron of the United States Army Air Service first served in World War 1 on the Western Front, and was re-designated as the 99th Corps Observation Squadron in 1921, coinciding with the unit's relocation to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C.
The neo-classical building of the National War College at Fort McNair completed in 1907 in the background of this photograph still exists today.
1935: Officials ride in one of the penstock pipes of the soon-to-be-completed Hoover Dam. In the same year, the pouring of the project's concrete had concluded - a total of 3.25million cubic yards.
112 people died building the Hoover Dam.
Conveying the officials in the photograph is a section of 30ft diameter steel penstock pipe nearly three inches thick. Contemporary photographs of the Hoover Dam concrete, made with locally sourced aggregate were used as colour references, and adjusted to reflect what would have been newly poured concrete. Arizona's geology in the background remains the same as it did back in 1935.
1908: A trapper boy, one mile inside Turkey Knob Mine in Macdonald, West Virginia, photographed by Lewis Hine. The mining town of Turkey Knob had grown up 15 years before - its name derived from the wild turkeys hunted in the area. Lewis Hine, a New York City schoolteacher and sociologist, traversed America on behalf of the National Child Labor Committee - often taking pictures of child workers without the permission of their employers.
Despite the darkness, the brief explosion of colour seen in the camera flash are sourced from contemporary examples of other mines within the region.
TUTANKHAMUN BURIAL MASKS
November 1925: Tutankhamun's burial mask. Three years before, Howard Carter made his momentous discovery of the boy pharoah's lost tomb. It was to be five further years before the tomb was finally emptied.
The funerary mask of Tutankhamun was placed directly over the mummified remains of the pharaoh. The 24 pound mask is made of solid gold inlaid with blue glass and other semi-precious stones; such as carnelian, obsidian and quartz, dulled by over 3000 years of dust.
For the colour references, Carter's original inventory notes were cross referenced with the restored artefact in the Museum of Egypt, with specific details checked and provided by Egyptologists.
The black resinous material seen is a result of post-mummification combustion, whereas in other areas the linen bandages are remarkably intact.
These people are helping to fund The Paper Time Machine.
Rafael Mendez Jr.