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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Design In Motion

Design in Motion:
The Invention and Innovation of Moving Photographs or Cinematography

cin·e·ma·tog·ra·phy : The art or technique of movie photography, including both the shooting and development of the film (1)

Is not art a part of design? And is not design a part of art? Cinematography blends many elements and principals of design throughout the ages of time. “Any overview of the
history of cinema would be remiss to fail to at least mention a long history of literature, storytelling, narrative drama, art, mythology, puppetry, shadow play, cave paintings and perhaps even dreams.” (2) Cinematography combines the long history of ways to communicate to our emotions, integrity, character, morals, and retell our history. And at times the implications and consequences of our past, present, and possible future.

Experiments in photographing movement had been made in both the United States and Europe during the latter half of the 19th cent. with, at first, no exploitation of its technical and commercial possibilities. Serial photographs of racehorses, intended to prove that all four hooves do leave the ground simultaneously, were obtained (c.1867) in California by Eadweard
Muybridge and J. D. Isaacs by setting up a row of cameras with shutters tripped by wires. The first motion pictures made with a single camera were by E. J. Marey, a French physician, in the 1880s, in the course of his study of motion.(3)

Another first in motion pictures is found in the archives of New Zealand. The first public film screening in New Zealand was in Auckland on October 13, 1896. Professors Hausmann and Gow introduced ‘Edison’s latest marvel, the Kinematograph’, with which they showed a programme of short films — the first public film projection in New Zealand. (4)

This is the first known moving pictures in New Zealand.
(You will need Quick Time to view this link)

I would like to challenge each of you to click on the following link: and decide why the movies listed are considered the best ever made movies. As you reflect back upon the movies listed, try to view them with your eyes as a designer, considering the elements and principals of design. I recall last Sunday and Wednesday evening, discussing the point of coming up with our own definition of art and design. Perhaps viewing or recalling the movies listed in the above link will help with that process. It has for me, especially as I now try to view movies in a more artful design sort of a way.

The impact of Cinematography on visual communication has taken us beyond carved figures, paintings, drawings, billboards, and all of the known past ways of visually communicating with an audience. Cinematography has captured and awakened every human sense expect for touch and smell as the artist communicates the message desired.

What other invention or innovation has made our world become relatively a neighborhood community which engages each of our senses including emotions, (except for touch and smell)? Through Cinematography people have the opportunity to share and express their viewpoint with more of a worldwide impact than ever before in the history of mankind. Through Cinematography we have the opportunity to be more informed while being entertained about politics, spiritual matters, sports, music, art, science, math, other cultures, nature, and the universe to name just a few areas of interests. The art of Cinematography gives individuals an opportunity to combine the elements and principals of design in more ways than ever before.

As with most good intentions there is a flip side to inventions and innovations. For those who choose to gain their information solely through Cinematography, they loose the benefits of reading, writing, and journaling to create an abundance of novels, newspapers and magazines. Choosing Cinematography over the other types of art, we loose the abundance of artists who create sculptures, paintings on canvases, and much more. In some ways we are taking away the imagination of our young people, the future artist who will design the future and explain the past of our existence. As Cinematography can have a positive impact on our society, it also can be a source of hopelessness and devastation. The more focused the elements and principals of design are effectively used in Cinematography, the more likely the outcome could have a negative or positive influence within our society, particularly, our youth.

Cinematography is a double edged sword. May we never be limited to the current trends of today’s designs, but continue to reach beyond the realms of our imagination and apply the elements and principals of design for a more receptive, peaceful and understanding global community.

source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
3 The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 2/24/2005



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