Reel Families

Reel Families : A Social History of Amateur Film

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Amateur film has been seen as the junkheap of private culture. Yet music videos recycle home movies as authenticity; commercials copy its style to sell intimacy; documentaries use it to recount history "from below."

Reel Families is the first historical study of amateur film, the most pervasive of media. Patricia Zimmerman charts the history of this medium from 1897 to the present, examining how ideological, technical, and social constraints have stunted amateur film's potential for extending media production beyond corporate monopolies and into the hands of everyday people. She draws on an array of sources-camera manufacturers, patents, early film and photography technology journals, amateur filmmaking magazines, professional magazines, and family-oriented popular magazines-to investigate how the concept of amateur film was transformed within evolving contexts of technology, aesthetics, social relations, and politics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 22mm | 559.99g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253209447
  • 9780253209443
  • 1,149,371

Back cover copy

Reel Families is the first historical study of amateur film. This pervasive medium is often considered the junkheap of private culture, yet music videos recycle home movies as authenticity; commercials copy their style to sell intimacy; documentaries use them to recount history 'from below'----of civil rights, feminism, and the ravages of the Holocaust and Vietnam.
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About Patricia R. Zimmermann

PATRICIA R. ZIMMERMANN is Professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College. She is also the author of States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies and has also published articles in Screen, Afterimage, Journal of Film and Video, Cinema Journal, The Independent, Genders, Wide Angle, and Current Research in Film.
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Table of contents


1 Pleasure or Money

2 Entrepreneurs, Artists, Hobbyists, and Workers: 1897-1923

3 Professional Results with Amateur Ease: 1923-1940

4 Cameras and Guns: 1941-1949

5 Do-It-Yourself: 1950-1962

6 Reinventing Amateurism

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Rating details

7 ratings
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3 14% (1)
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