Collector digitizes animations from as far back as the 1600s

GIFs have taken the Internet by storm for years, but their earliest ancestors have been around since the 1600s in the form of phenakistoscopes, praxinoscopes, and zoetropes. Richard Balzer is a New York native who fell in the love with the optic toys over 40 years ago, and has since amassed a collection of thousands of illustrations and machines.

After discovering his first magic lantern, Balzer started working overseas as a photographer, but could never quite shake his curiosity for optical devices. He added to his collection of magic lanterns from flea markets across London and Paris, going on to expand his collection as his knowledge of early animation technology grew.

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