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Elapsed Time Test Studies: Australian Wildflowers, Tahiti, Travel Scenes (c.1955)


In a greenhouse full of flowering plants, amateur filmmaker FE Winton uses early methods of time lapse photography to capture the slow bloom of brightly coloured flora.

Curator’s notes

These are incredible ‘elapsed time’ studies of various flora – made even more so by the fact that FE Winton was using electric flashes at the time – apparently early by world standards. According to his wife, Winton was the only person in Australia in the 1950s doing elapsed time photography in this way as opposed to using carbon arc lamps.

This film came into the National Collection of the National Film and Sound Archive through the Last Film Search, a nationwide search for valuable nitrate film before it disintegrated. However, as a result of the search, the NFSA also acquired acetate or diacetate film such as this 16 mm amateur footage. The Winton Collection consists of around 20 home movies including records of their travels through the Pacific Islands of Samoa, Fiji and Tahiti.

The time lapse photography in the segments with flowers allows the viewer to witness the subtle changes over time of nature.