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Jeffrey Martin

Medium on which a series of photographic images are recorded on a flexible plastic base in order to produce the illusion of movement when reproduced by projection through a lens or other means. Although ‘film’ has been used by the general public as a catch-all term for any moving image medium, it actually refers specifically to photochemical reproduction.

Three different types of film base have been used in motion picture production. The first, cellulose nitrate, was used from the time it was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1889, through the early 1950s. Cellulose nitrate was durable, withstood repeated projection, and provided a high-quality image. It was also extremely flammable, requiring careful handling in shipping and storage, and the construction of special fireproof projection booths in theatres. It is always identified by the words ‘Nitrate film’ along one edge. Cellulose acetate film was first made available commercially in 1909, but was inferior in strength to nitrate film, and was not widely adopted for theatrical use. It was, however, used exclusively in smaller-gauge film for home and amateur use by the 1920s. In ...


Hope Kingsley

revised by Dennis Reed

[Pictorial photography]

Photographic style that began around 1890 and continued until at least World War II, in which photographers sought to convey subjective emotions rather than depict objective reality. Pictorialism became the first international movement of photography, with artists predominantly working in the USA, Europe and Asia. Pictorialists modelled their photographs after fine art, and they embraced a variety of artistic influences, including Symbolist literature and art, Impressionist and Pre-Raphaelite painting, Art Nouveau and Japonisme. Their works were generally characterized by picturesque subjects rendered in soft focus, with an emphasis on tone rather than line and detail. They employed exotic printing techniques or drew onto their prints, lending a handmade quality to their work and thus demonstrating its technical and aesthetic skill. At the heart of the Pictorialist movement were two primary tenets: a desire to create beauty and the aspiration to establish photography as an art form.

The subjective versus objective nature of photography was argued before and during the Pictorialist movement. ...