Collaboration and Connections: Postprints of the AICCM Paper, Books and Photographic Materials Special Interest Group Symposium, Sydney 1-3 April 2004, pp. 29-40
At the end of the nineteenth century, posters were everywhere. Pasted on fences, walls and boards, posters advertising cigarettes, newspapers, food products, travel lines and theatrical productions were exposed to the elements and the vagaries of street life before being torn down or pasted over by other, newer posters. The use of graphics allowed posters to speak to people of all languages and social classes; they were the modern, economical way of reaching a mass audience (Duce, 1912, p. 5). Because of their appeal to the immigrant, urban audience, posters were relied upon by motion picture exhibitors to promote the films being shown in their nickelodeons (Figure 1). Called the external literature of the theater, they have been used to promote films since 1895, when the Lumire Brothers first projected their short films for an audience in Paris (The Moving Picture W orld, 1909, p. 407). Print runs in the thousands were common, and their expendability was a given. What is unexpected is that a century later, movie posters are highly prized by collectors, exhibited in museums and galleries and collected by libraries.