In 1895 - A journalist in Paris after viewing the premiere of Louis Lumière’s films.
[below is one of the earliest reviews of the Lumiere Brothers’ first screening of projected motion pictures on December 28, 1895 at 6 p.m. at the Grand Cafe, 14, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, France.]
Messieurs Lumiere, father and son, from Lyon, last evening invited the press to the inauguration of a truly strange and novel spectacle, whose premiere was reserved for the Parisian public. They have installed their ingenious apparatus in the elegant basement of the Grand Cafe in the Boulevard des Capucines.
Imagine, if you will, a screen placed at the back of a vast room, as large as can be imagined. This screen is visible by a crowd. On the screen appears a photographic projection. So far, nothing new. But suddenly, the image —of either natural or reduced size, depending on the scene’s dimensions— animates itself and comes to life.
It is a factory gate, which opens and releases a flood of workers, male and female, with bicycles, running dogs, and carriages—all swarming and milling about. It is life itself; it is movement captured on the spot.
Or else there is an intimate scene, a family gathered around a table. Baby lets some porridge which his father is feeding him fall from its lips, while the mother smiles. In the distance, the trees are swaying; one sees the breeze lift the child’s ruffle….
Photography has ceased to record immobility. It perpetuates the image of movement. The beauty of the invention resides in the novelty and ingenuity of the apparatus.
When these gadgets are in the hands of the public, when anyone can photograph the ones who are dear to them, not just in their immobile form, but with movement, action, familiar gestures, and the words out of their mouths, then death will no longer be absolute, final.
La Poste, 30 December 1895