Cameras into the Wild

A History of Early Wildlife and Expedition Filmmaking, 1895–1928


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About the Book

The cinematographers and directors who shot film in wilderness areas at the turn of the 19th century are some of the unsung heroes of documentary film-making. Apart from severe weather conditions, these men and women struggled with heavy and cumbersome equipment in some of the most unforgiving locales on the planet. This groundbreaking study examines nature, wildlife and wilderness filming from all angles. Topics covered include the beginnings of film itself, the first attempts at nature and expedition filming, technical developments of the period involving cameras and lenses, and the role film has played in wilderness preservation. The individual contributions of major figures are discussed throughout, and a filmography lists hundreds of nature films from the period.

About the Author(s)

Palle B. Petterson (Ph.D) is a Danish writer and film enthusiast who has traveled in ninety countries. He is currently at work on a book about the Danish documentary film director Theodor Christensen.

Bibliographic Details

Palle B. Petterson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 87 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6166-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8595-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      3

Getting Around the Subject      7

1895–1902: First Attempts to Make Nature Films      29

1903–1906: Nature and Wildlife Films Take—and Make Use of—Form      48

1907–1910: Exploring Borderlines      63

1911–1921: Concern for Nature Preservation      97

1922–1928: Higher Quality and Different Conventions      138

Conclusion      180

Filmography, 1895–1928: Non- Fiction Films with Nature, Animals, Wildlife or Wilderness      187

Chapter Notes      211

Bibliography      217

Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“the first broad overview of a whole genre of important pioneering work…a fascinating study of an all-but-forgotten era of filmmaking”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly; “it took perseverance and extensive research for Petterson, a Danish writer and film buff, to find enough documentation, photography and film for his book on the earliest attempts at filming wildlife”—Reference & Research Book News; “groundbreaking study”—Journal from the Nordic Information Center for Media and Communication Research; groundbreaking study”—NAFA Network.