Monday, November 03, 2014

Dog That Didn't Bark Special – Vol. Nine, No. Three - Centennials Which Should Have Happened

The first ever nature movie. 

In 1909 no one realized how important this use of film would become, most people were into drama, battles, love scenes, comedy. Pillsbury had different priorities. He seamlessly applied this newly born medium to the problem of helping people fall in love with nature.

How many of us had our empathy and interest arrested by a nature movie? Awakened to the sameness of all life through this medium? It boggles the mind. Films take you there without having to step into the wilderness.

Announcements were made for a Centennial event to take place at the Yosemite Chapel, the building closest to the original location for the Studio of the Three Arrows in 1909 where that film was shown. 

Left - Post Office, Store, Sentinel Hotel, just visible in distance, Right - Gazebo for films, Pillsbury Studio
I was there and lead a walk through the location of Old Village.  Afterward, we ate lunch on tables set up at the Yosemite Chapel. 

This is Dad, Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury, on Winkey.  In the background is his tent, behind the Chapel.
The Studio was in front of, but to the bridge side of the Chapel. Across the road running along the Valley wall which then lead into Yosemite Valley, turning to meet the street lined with small businesses and the Sentinel Hotel.  My Dad's tent always stood in back of the Chapel, near the wall.  Today that space is covered by their extended office space. 

Now you can see it more closely.

One paper published it, The Porterville Recorder. The National Park Service maintained a stoic silence.

In the announcement the fact Ansel Adams was mentored by Pillsbury was mentioned. Ansel worked for Pillsbury and also took photography classes from him, as did Harry Pidgeon and Earl Brooks.

My father, Dr. Arthur Francis Pillsbury, Director of the Water Resources Center for the University of California System, recalled to me tripping over Adams, along with other photography students, as he operated the mass production post card machine before the Studio moved to New Village in 1924. Aunt Grace recalled the same thing from her own point of view, as her duties were generally serving customers. Aunt Grace reported this to me in 1972. Aunt Grace married Arthur Young on 13 Oct. 1923 in Oakland in the same room where this picture was taken. 

Ansel Adams, front, not smiling

Larger Image, Ansel Adams
Ansel came to parties for photography students and kids who worked at the studio at Pillsbury's home in Berkeley during the winter months.

Disappointed his youngest son, my dad, had determined on college and a career in engineering, Pillsbury began using Ansel Adams more frequently as an assistant and developer.

The new studio was the first to be built in New Village in 1924. 

The auditorium held 350 people and was usually full, standing room only. 

Interior of the Pillsbury Studio, entrance to Auditorium is up the steps on each side of the fireplace.

Using his revenue from the drastically lower cost of production them made possible with the mass production photo-postcard machine and his income from the Studio Grandfather funded a new technology. Pillsbury had a life long passion for nature and spent that life sharing his passion with people around the world.

His next invention was the microscopic motion picture camera

Seeing cells dividing happened first because of Pillsbury. This invention provided the needed insights in multiple disciplines, including medicine, to help them move to another level of knowledge. And because he paid for the development himself Pillsbury was able to keep his inventions, and how to build them, available to everyone.  He called it Knowledge Commons.  Today we say Open Source. 

We are going to make that Centennial happen.

No comments: