Claire Parker

Claire Parker

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Added by 23 December, 2016

A few days ago, we talked about Émile Reynaud and James Stuart Blackton, fathers of animation, but today we wanna mention another leading figure in this field. She belongs to the other side, the side of the forgotten. We are talking about Claire Parker (1906-1981).

The best-known contribution of Claire Parker to cinema, specifically to animation cinema, is the Pinscreen. This device consist of a vertical screen of 240,000 pins, that can be moved by hand back and forth through the holes. The screen has light in the sides, which makes every pin cast a different shadow in each position. This mechanism reminds us lightly to the first optical toys, like the zootrope, but its main difference is that it’s considered one of the first devices that produce the animation through the elements that conform the image (we called them pixels today). That brings an opportunity to create really detailed images.

Although both Claire Parker and his husband, the russian animator Alexandre Alexeieff, share the credit for this invention, the french patent for this first version of the pinscreen belongs to Claire Parker alone. This is because not only she fund the device, but also she was a very important part of the creative process. Furthermore, she was responsible for the lightning and camera operations during most of their works with the pinscreen.

They made a total of 6 very short films with it, over a period of fifty years. Some of this filmes include Une Nuit sur le mont chauve (1933; A Night in the Bald Mountain) o Le Nez (1963, The Nose).

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