French Film Colorists
Perhaps the earliest production work available to women in the film industry was coloring work—hand-coloring dyes onto film prints frame by frame. Female colorists were also common in the nineteenth century in the lantern-slide and postcard industries, for at least initially, they could be exploited at a lower wage than men to perform the repetitive and detailed tasks. By the mid-1890s, the film industry had adopted similar labor strategies for coloring prints. Aesthetic assumptions also grounded this practice: an enduring trope of western color theory pertains to the gendering of color—females have long been assumed to be more attuned to color. Women were not only cheaper in general to employ but also were thought to be, with their supposed sensitivity and nimble fingers, innately suited to the detailed work of coloring films.
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- French Film Colorists
A newer version of the essay can be viewed at https://doi.org/10.7916/d8-7zt2-9e47