China Girls

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art / beauty / compilation / film / history / images / vintage / women

I had never heard of them, but a little subplot in Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was a first hint; meet the China Girls.

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Nowadays color timing is done digitally, but from the beginning of cinema until the 1990s film technicians used gray scales and color strips as reference to create a uniform color balance and tonal density for each reel. They also used the color of the China Girl‘s skin tones. These women (often lab workers themselves) would make their appearance, for a few frames, during the countdown at the beginning of a film reel, often accompanied by color bars. These unseen women apparently were a big hit among movie projectionists.

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Many of these of photographs come from the project Girls on Film by Julie Buck and Karin Segal.

Song for today: David Bowie – China Girl

The Author

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”  Miss Piggy

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