Girls on Film is about 70 unknown movie stars. Despite appearing in countless films, the anonymous female film studio workers were never meant to be seen by the moviegoing public. The images in this exhibition, from what were known as color-timing control strips, were meant only for use by the processing lab to match color tones in the associated film. But film projectionists have long used female test-strip images as a private source of pin-up girls; they sometimes saved and traded these images, even in tiny 35 mm form. Artists Julie Buck and Karin Segal saved the initial images from discarded film leaders. The heavily scratched and faded images were then enlarged, restored, and edited until these unknown and formerly unseen women resemble publicity snapshots of well-known film stars. Organized by Julie Buck and Karin Segal, artists and film archivists, Harvard Film Archive; and Linda Norden, associate curator of contemporary art, Fogg Museum.
Partial support for the exhibition and accompanying brochure was provided by Allen’s Camera, Triage Film Lab, Colorlab, Modern Postcard, and an anonymous donor.