Monday, 22 March 2010

Tait Treats

This day in 1895, The Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, put on their first screening of moving images.

Margaret Tait is arguably Orkney's most celebrated film-maker and 1992's Blue Black Permanent was her only feature length film.

We hold two albums of beautiful continuity Polaroids for the film in her archive. These stills were made for the benefit of director, cinematographer, wardrobe and make-up artists and simply record all the physical details of a scene. Some have scribbled notes along the bottom such as 'sleeve down' and 'Andrew. scene 137'.

They may just be practical, visual prompts but they are lovely objects in their own right.

How did she manage to make something as every day as a table set for tea or a pair of sandals on the beach look so pleasing and evocative?

Orkney Archive Reference D97/13


  1. These stills are beautiful! You're quite right that they make beautiful objects in themselves - it's funny how material in an archive can take on quite different meanings, or have different appeal, than was originally intended. I've still to see 'Blue Black Permanent' - hopefully there will be a screening of it sometime soon in Glasgow or Edinburgh, or maybe in Orkney, as I'd love to visit again!

  2. Thanks for commenting Kathryn. It is a shame that the film is not commercially available as so many people seem to be interested in it.


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