Louis Lumière born
Raised in the middle of the 19th century industrial revolution, Louis Lumière (along with his brother Auguste) would grow up to create the technology for the most important 20th century art form. Born in Besançon, France, Louis was destined to take over the family business, an industrial concern dealing with photographic chemicals and emulsions. While trained in science and business, Louis also developed a more artistic side. As a child, he often had to leave school because of terrible headaches. At home, rather than reviewing his school work, he would indulge in drawing and music, a side of him that would reemerge when he started making films. Pushed by their father, the young brothers avidly pursued the new technology of moving pictures, following the latest developments from Edison and others. At less than 30 years old, Louis designed a way to push film through the camera (and then later through the projector) by means of a special hook. In 1895, they patented their invention as a Cinématographe, unveiling its potential at one of the first screenings in France, their famous 1895 La Sortie des Usines Lumière (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). In the next few decades, Lumière produced hundreds of short films, each capturing a different aspect of his day-to-day life. (His fellow French filmmaker, Georges Méliès, on the other hand, used the new technology to explore fantastic stories). While the brothers continued to innovate filmmaking technology (creating large format film, developing color transparency, 3-D photography, new lenses, etc.), they also heavily influenced the aesthetic direction of the new medium. While Lumière referred to cinema as “an invention without a future," his own work, in recording the actual events around him, laid the groundwork for modern documentaries.