What is a Glass Lantern Slide? continued

Democracy of Beauty Exhibit Images

Color made slide shows more vivid, but colorists did not always recreate the real garden scene. For example, these two images of an unidentified garden c. 1930 started with the same black and white photograph, but the irises are different colors in each. This may have been done to help audiences understand color as an element of garden design. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Company Collection. 

Although the invention was first used as a form of entertainment, where customers paid to see richly illustrated sights, others, such as McFarland, soon realized the medium’s civic and educational potential.  “The most effective means…toward the accomplishment of civic good through photographs,” McFarland wrote, “is to make them into lantern-slides, and then to show these lantern-slides to the people . . . Through a good lantern slide much more of a photograph is brought to attention in this fashion than ever seen on the best possible print on paper.”