Man is an artistic being which led him to process images and make the first cave drawings distinguishing the day and light, while the scientific part of man worked to develop the visual communication improvising it from shadows to moving images, which finally emerged as motion pictures – the cinema of modern days.
For people like us who are unaware of the time before the advent of cinemas where people used optical toys for processing images, capturing movements, storytelling and entertainment, Akram Miknas, a man with zeal towards photography took personal responsibility to present people with the evolution of moving pictures.
The Moving Image museum in Dubai is a result of his 25 years of exploration of all the optical devices around the world and their collection. One of its kinds in the whole Middle East.
Guests irrespective of their age are allowed to set their hands upon the devices and watch the magic for themselves.
Coming to the collections housed in there; the collection includes optical toys from 1730’s till date. The exhibition in the museum follows the pattern of evolution starting from
Shadows: Shadow puppetry is known to be the first expression of imagery. At this stage people used flat articulated figures held between the source of light and the screen to create the impression of moving objects or 3D figures.
The above fig shows the collection of Shadows and Camera Obscura in Dubai Moving Image Museum.
Camera Obscura: Which is a Latin word for darkened chamber is one of the inventions that led to photography and camera. All it does is to project the image of its surroundings on the screen.
Closer look of the Dark chambered devices
After the series of studies on the principle of travelling light through a pinhole during 300BC Alhazen, who invented camera obscura was the first to successfully project an entire image outdoors to the screen indoors using his invention.
Peep Shows: Peep show is where the objects, pictures or people are viewed through a small hole or a magnifying. Peeps shows started during 15th century in Europe and were adapted by Chinese during the 19th century.
Peep boxes (containing a set of pictures) were usually carried by show-men who usually set the viewing position.
The fig above shows the peep box used in peep show
Stereoscopy: Stereoscopy often referred to as 3D imaging is nothing but enhancing the illusion of depth in an image. Here two pictures are taken from slightly different viewpoint and allowed to view, which gives our eyes (left and right eye) the perception of a 3D image.
Stereoscopes were American’s most popular means of entertainment in late 1800 and early 1900’s. Sir Charles Wheatstone invented the first patented stereoscope in 1838.
Kaiser panorama and other stereoscopy devices exhibited in the museum
Transforming Images: Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian Painter was known to conduct experiments on images on how to transform and distort them using mathematical grids. Anamorphosis is the term often used to discuss distorted projections.
Magic Lanterns: Magic lanterns are the milestones in the evolution of motion picture projectors. The positive ray in this device is that, by using mechanical slides moving images can be projected by the magic lantern itself.
Magic lanterns collected by Akram Miknas placed for display in Dubai Moving Image Museum.
Animating Images: Thaumatropes are the first animating images where a card with an image on each side is connected to a string which when twirled quickly gives us the illusion of a single image.
This is just a quick look at some of Akram’s collection that involves the evolution of motion pictures. One must take a closer look at each and every collection in the well maintained moving picture museum under the elegant supervision of manager Mandy. The museum is located in Tecom, Dubai.
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