The Wildlife On Film
Moving pictures of animals – domesticated, captive, and wild – have been a part of cinematic history from its earliest days. Some scholars, looking for cinema’s precedents(PRECEDE) in scientific motion-study photography and persistence(PERSIST) -of-vision mechanism, claim that moving images of animals predate cinema itself. However, the images of animals that reached early movie screens did not derive directly from motion studies but rather from the conventions(CONVENE) of precinematic visual technologies that had long been used to describe and delineate the boundaries of racial difference, sexual difference, and colonial power, as well as from the often conflictual(CONFLICT), occasionally overlapping efforts of scientists, naturalists, conservationists(CONSERVE), hunters, adventurers, and the film industry itself.
For many decades, capturing photographic images of animals, still or moving, was no easy task. In the first few decades of the photographic era, long exposure(EXPOSE) times excluded all moving subjects, and therefore most live, free-roaming animals. After about 1870, photographers could take advantage of increasingly(INCREASE) mobile equipment, with quick shutters and sensitive(SENSE) emulsions.