Heather Norris Nicholson
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An indispensable travel accessory
in Amateur film
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Chapter 7 considers how cine users recorded days out, holidays and work-related overseas travel for home and wider audiences. Unprecedented patterns of peacetime recreational travel and personal mobility coincide with the rise and development of amateur cinema. Family picnics, seaside visits and hiking in the 1930s, overseas touring and cruising holidays, package holidays and long-haul travel provided changing contexts for amateur filmmakers. The films are a rich evidential source on tourism and leisure history at home and abroad in their capturing of personal responses to being somewhere else. Places and peoples framed as part of individual travel and holiday narratives disclose attitudes, assumptions, prejudices and preferences, gender roles, relationships and patterns of authority. Some people filmed for family reasons while others undertook journeys and filmed with educational and fund-raising purposes in mind. Ethnographic approaches and careful editing contrast with the unedited spontaneous snapshot visual diary approaches of other camera users. Undoubtedly impressionistic, eclectic and fragmented, much imagery found in travel-related and holiday footage raises issues of modernity and speed, privilege, visual politics, voyeurism, aesthetics and pictorialism and may be set against wider socio-economic, technological, cultural and ideological processes operating from local to global level.

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Amateur film

Meaning and practice, 1927–77


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