Digitization of the Burton Holmes Lantern Slide Collection

Lantern slides predate 35mm slides as a medium for projecting photographic images. The slides themselves are glass plates, 3.5 x 4 inches in size. Since the photographic plates of the time were limited to black and white, many photographers further enhanced their images by hand coloring the plates.

Lantern Slide ScannerBurton Holmes was a master of the art, and according to many reports, a master showman. He produced over 8,000 travelogue shows in his lifetime, and eventually added motion pictures to his presentations. Holmes eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he even has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard! The University of California, Los Angeles now has the largest collection of Holmes' original lantern slides.

The collection we are digitizing is photographs from Italy and is supported by a grant from the Kress Foundation. We actually built a scanner for this purpose by modifying our TTI Repro Camera and Betterlight scanback to work with a special full-spectrum backlit light source that is laser aligned to the optical system for absolute sharpness edge-to-edge. We are providing an archival TIFF file from the raw scan that is color correct but unprocessed, as well as a set of cropped, fully processed TIFF files that will be used by UCLA to generate derivative files for eventual presentation purposes.

View a full size image from this collection in our Portfolio section.