The Beautiful Horror of Decomposed Nitrate Film Reels

February 20, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

These warped, surreal images demonstrate what happens to 35mm nitrate film clippings after decades of decomposition. The frames, mostly from cinema’s early years (1897-1915), are among the 23,491 clippings that the late Italian film historian Davide Turconi collected throughout his lifetime. The distortion of the film clippings’ subjects — now presumably dead — creates a fitting, macabre effect.

Joshua Yumibe with the Turconi Project explains:

Such frames make up a relatively small yet remarkable portion of the collection. As these shapes and hues have tragically faded in disintegrating emulsion, we are left with fragments that, through the workings of time, have transmuted into breathtaking images akin to abstract works of art.

More info here.