British photographic history

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Exhibition: The Century of the Film

If you happen to be hiking in the Swiss Alps this summer, do drop in to the town of Vevey by the north shore of Lake Geneva to view this exhibition.

When the film on a flexible support appeared on the market in the 1880s, the whole world of photography was radically transformed. Cameras underwent a complete metamorphosis, rapidly becoming smaller and smaller and more and more sophisticated mechanically. The arrival of the film meant that a sequence of shots could be linked up and with the added advantage of glass-plate negatives, the use of cameras as a whole was greatly simplified, leading to a total revolution in the way people saw everything and communicated their observations. This was the beginning of the intensive activity of 20th Century photographers.

Long before George Eastman’s invention, Prudent René-Patrice Dagron, a chemist and photographer, produced the first type of film during the French-German war in 1870. On this occasion, important documents were reduced photographically onto a sheet of collodion, then transmitted by pigeon carriers to the besieged Parisians. When Eastman came up with the Kodak, a compact, user-friendly camera with a flexible film, promoted by the famous slogan "You press the button, we do the rest", photography rapidly became the witness of happy days for so many amateurs and their families. Photographic images, now accessible to one and all, suddenly became more spontaneous... This was the beginning of the intensive activity of 20th Century photographers.

This new exhibition portrays the ways in which photography has spread to all age groups, all social categories, amateurs and professionals alike. Visitors will be able to admire all kinds of photographic devices, many unusual, rare items and amazing applications, not forgetting the users themselves, whether behind or in front of the camera.

Details of the exhibition can be found here, and the official press release here: Le%20sie%CC%80cle%20du%20film%20communique%CC%81%20presse_GB.pdf:


Photo: 35 mm film, cellulose nitrate for the Cinématographe with Lumière perforations, and its metal box.

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