Amateur film

Meaning and practice, 1927–77

Amateur film: Meaning and practice 1927–77 traces the development of non-professional interests in making and showing film. It explores how amateur cinematography gained a following among the wealthy, following the launch of lightweight portable cine equipment by Kodak and Pathé in Britain during the early 1920s. As social access to the new hobby widened, enthusiasts began to use cine equipment at home, work, on holiday and elsewhere. Some amateurs made films only for themselves while others became cine club members, contributors to the hobby literature and participated in film competitions from local to international level.

The stories of individual filmmakers, clubs and the emergence of an independent hobby press, as well as the non-fiction films made by groups and individuals, provide a unique lens through which contemporary responses to daily experience may be understood over fifty years of profound social, cultural and economic change. Using regional film archive collections, oral testimony and textual sources, this book explores aspects of family life, working experience, locality and social issues, leisure time and overseas travel as captured by filmmakers from northern and northwest England. This study of visual memory, identity and status sets cine camera use within a wider trajectory of personal record making, and discusses the implications of footage moving from private to public spaces as digitisation widens access and transforms contemporary archive practice.

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