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Much of the first class was spent discussing the introduction of both technical and philosophical concepts to the art form that in under 150 years became one of the most potent and powerful cultural influences across the globe—the motion picture. We talked about the idea of the image and what it represented for the human being who had spent centuries worshipping Divine creativity and was now suddenly exploring and celebrating their own. Certainly, a painting captured a moment, a quick reminiscence or a feeling, and with the advent of the camera, a still picture recorded with unflinching accuracy the visual details of a given moment. But the core of our nature is that once a human gets all that they want, they want more. To really capture the human spirit, the human energy, the human imagination, it was necessary to capture humans in motion. Eadweard Muybridge certainly captured animal movement with his series of tripwire cameras, but the real genius was in using a single camera on a moving “film” to catch shots one after another that would create the sensation of movement when viewed on a viewer or projected on a screen. The pursuit of this endeavor-and its commercial possibilities—by Edison, the Lumiere Brothers, and perhaps especially Louis LaPrince — form an exciting story of adventure, imagination, tastes, technology, and even. . . a murder mystery!
Given what we covered, you are to write a roughly one-page reflection paper:
What was the importance of man catching “lightning in a bottle”? What was the significance of our being able to capture movement in a way previously unavailable to the human race? Why was it so exciting and what doors did it open to us? Did it represent a shift in our view of our own abilities, power, sense of self? Given all the other facets of life-changing at the turn of the 20th Century, talk about what struck you as special about the invention of motion pictures.
There is no right or wrong here. It’s just a chance for you to consider and reflect.
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