Of all technological advancements made in the nineteenth century, it was the advent of mechanical reproduction of images that was the most culturally influential. Film would go onto combine visual representation and storytelling to become an art form that transcends civilizational boundaries as humans relate to each other. Films would be social, cultural, and political diaries for generations. Beyond its technological nuts and bolts, cinema challenged peoples’ traditional notions of time and space. A projected film reel created a parallel reality with its own cinematic time and space. What people would begin to see was a manipulation of the world, a blurring of reality, and a challenge to actual time and physical space. The films of the early pioneers Thomas Edison (1847-1931), George Melies (1861-1938), Auguste Marie Louis Lumiere (1862-1954), and Louis Jean Lumiere (1864-1948) attest to this.
There is no question about the importance of cinema in the contemporary world. It has gone on to become one of the most popular forms of entertainment, art, education, and propaganda. The children of those technologies are all around us as audiences go to movie theatres each year to see multimillion dollar budget 3D features, billions of internet users watch video clips uploaded onto YouTube, and smartphone owners can easily create audio-visual content right from their pocket. Keeping time, space, and reality in mind as we visually document the world around us elevates the aesthetic tenfold.