Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium
Technology, Invention, Tinkerers, and Gadgets
Friday July 28, 1:30pm
Making Flowers Dance: The John Nash Ott Collection at Chicago Film Archives
In late 2022, Chicago Film Archives acquired a collection of over 400 16mm film elements from amateur filmmaker John Nash Ott. With no formal training in either science or photography, Ott built an elaborate automated film studio in his suburban Chicago greenhouse in the 1940s and went on to become a wildly successful time-lapse photographer of plants and cell life. In this presentation, archivists from CFA will explore Ott’s methods and materials, and will detail how Ott’s teenage hobby as a timelapse photographer catapulted him from banker to local TV heartthrob to Disney collaborator to infomercial pitchman.