The article explores early moving images of animals in promotional and publicity materials. Despite the lack of a complete, cross-media historical study of what is now called ‘wildlife films’, the film-historical discourse that does exist about this genre of films is dominated by a scientific approach that stresses the increasing naturalness and effect on salving the conscience. In this essay I argue a case for returning to a neglected element of this history, namely early commercial films about animals. By matching the different nomenclature that can be found in catalogues, advertisements and programmes and that are a part of the institutionalization of the cinema as an industry, the limits of the notion of genre and content in reconstructing a history of this type of imaging become clear.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
dx.doi.org/10.18146/tmg.564
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis
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TMG Journal for Media History; Vol 12, No 2 (2009): Natuurrepresentatie; 83-104

de Klerk, Nico. (2009). 'Sans profit pour eux'. Dierenopnamen in vroege commerciële cinema 1891-1911. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 12(2), 83–104. doi:10.18146/tmg.564