San Fransisco, 1905
Shot from the front of a tram, a pleasant seven minute trip into downtown San Fransisco just before the earthquake and fire.
Putting cameras on the front of moving vehicles (particularly trains and streetcars) was big entertainment in the first days of cinema, see the similar The Haverstraw Tunnel (1897), or Tram Ride Into Halifax (1902) and Ride On A Tram Car Through Belfast (1901) from the superlative Mitchell and Kenyon collection held by the BFI. The idea of moving whilst sat in a cinema seat, drawn through the scenery as if by some sort of phantom force, particularly engaged turn-of-the-century cinema-goers: creating moving shots using the rudimentary camera equipment was otherwise near impossible.
A hundred years later, this type of film gives a great idea of contemporary attitudes towards movement and mobility in urban areas. Of particular interest in this example, for instance, is the prevalent attitude towards shared street space, a concept which is beginning to come back into vogue. Note as well the absence of any street furniture, signage or clutter.
(via ), originally posted at undercreative.tumblr.com