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  • A View of the World: Toward a Photographic Theory of Cel Animation

    Hannah Frank

    Chapter from the book: Frank, H. 2019. Frame by Frame: A Materialist Aesthetics of Animated Cartoons.


    The second chapter provides the first sustained treatment of animation as a fundamentally photographic media. Arguing against the divide between animation and cinema on the grounds of photographic reproduction, the chapter argues that each animated frame is not just a photograph of a collection of cels but also a document of the production process that can reveal the labor that went into the film’s production. Looking at the mistakes that were photographed—from a missing cel in a Bugs Bunny cartoon that removes his head from a frame to the accidental preservation of dust motes—it argues that we can see traces of the image’s production in its final form. If animation is traditionally thought of as distinct from the world because of its lack of photographic reproduction, this chapter shows how necessary photography is. The revelations that result imbues the cartoons with new aesthetic power.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Frank, H. 2019. A View of the World: Toward a Photographic Theory of Cel Animation. In: Frank, H, Frame by Frame. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.65.c

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    Additional Information

    Published on May 7, 2019


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