Monday, March 24, 2008

Kinescopes, and Jenny Lynn

There are many pictures in The Lucky Strike Papers which come from kinescopes. During the period of early television, when programs were for the most part performed live, videotape had not yet been invented. For areas of the country which could not receive programs live—until 1951, there was no coaxial cable linking the entire country; until then, programs telecast from New York, for example, could be seen live only about halfway across the United States—kinescopes were employed.

Kinescopes (known, at the time, for their primitive and imperfect qualities) were sixteen-millimeter films made of programs as they were telecast. Yet they were made not by filming the programs directly, on stage, but by filming the shows off of a TV monitor. The kinescopes were then shipped to the cities which had not been able to see the programs live.

The images of kinescopes, in the book, were not made directly from kinescopes, but via videotapes of kinescopes.

Jenny Lynn, a magnificent artist and photographer, photographed all of the video/kinescope images in the book.

Ms. Lynn has been widely published and exhibited. Her monograph, PhotoPlay, was brought out in 2004. On March 30th, she has a one-person exhibition opening at New York’s Katonah Museum of Art. The show, called “The Object Is Art,” will be seen at the museum until June 29th. For more information: