Louis Jean Lumière

French film pioneer. Born 1864, died 1948.

With his brother, Auguste Lumière (1862-1954), he invented and patented (1895) the so-called cinématographe, a hand-crank-operated lightweight device capable of both recording and projecting moving images.

On December 28, 1895, the Brothers Lumière organised the world's first film screening for a paying audience, in the Indian salon under the Grand Café on Boulevard des Capucines no. 14 in Paris.

The earliest films of the Lumière brothers normally had a duration of a minute or less, and were unedited footage shot with a fixed camera. The images shown were carefully composed (according to the photographic style of the day) displays of daily life, with titles such as Le Déjeuner de bébé ("Baby's breakfast"), La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon ("Workers leaving the Lumière factory in Lyon") and L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de la Ciotat ("Arrival of a train at the Ciotat station"), all recorded by Louis Lumière 1894-1895. Before the turn of the century, he had recorded about 70 films, and produced over 2000. Among the first was also a small piece of fiction, L'Arroseur arrosé ("The gardener who was watered").

With the success of moving pictures, the brothers (and their father, Antoine Lumière, who had a large photographic factory in Lyon), soon sent off photographers to far corners of the world, in an effort to secure ever more exotic footage to satisfy an ever more demanding public. Among the footage thus secured was a film of the coronation of Czar Nicholas II of Russia in 1897. The photographers also doubled as projectionists, travelling salesmen for the Lumière product, thus helping to ensure the rapid growth of the film industry worldwide.

Despite the tremendous successes thus achieved, the Lumières regarded film as a technical gimmick, and after 1900 mostly devoted themselves to their factory in Lyon.