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In 1909 Grandfather showed the first Nature Movie
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In 1909 Arthur C. Pillsbury saw the potential of film to save nature. His first nature film astonished tourists in Yosemite. I am his grand-daughter. We need your help to ensure this amazing legacy does not deteriorate any further. Help us ensure ... More

In 1909 Arthur C. Pillsbury saw the potential of film to save nature. His first nature film astonished tourists in Yosemite.

I am his grand-daughter. We need your help to ensure this amazing legacy does not deteriorate any further. Help us ensure Grandfather's  legacy is there for all of our children.

In 1912 he stopped the mowing of the meadows in Yosemite with his lapse-time camera. Bringing wildflowers into focus as living things, which struggle to survive, started a movement for their preservation. 

Using a borrowed lab at the University of California at Berkeley in 1926 Pillsbury funded and built the first microscopic motion picture camera.

The first showing of his film was in the tiny lab allotted to him in the basement. His stunned audience of professors asked, having witnessed a cell dividing, “What did we just see?”  Then they understood.  Seeing is knowing. 

An explosion in medical science and other fields followed.

Grandfather produced the first special effect, showing him lecturing from inside a pumping cell. Generations of people around the world saw his films and heard him lecture. But today his amazing work has been largely forgotten and every day the remaining films are deteriorating.

A strong believer in what today is known as Open Source Pillsbury declined to patent his inventions, instead writing a book which explained how to build them yourself.

Grandfather  lectured and showed his movies at every major university in the United States, England and the South Seas, where he filmed the first underwater motion pictures in the bay at Pago – Pago in 1930.

Watch our short video, Extending Human Vision, using short pieces from his films.

There is much, much more and it needs desperately to be restored and preserved, both for the history of films and because his work galvanized generations to see nature through new eyes, and love it.

Film can't wait.

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Perks

$50 USD
Primroses and Half Dome
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Evening Primroses were one of the first wildflowers Grandfather filmed using his lapse-time camera. The flowers in this photo were hand tinted. The Studio of the Three Arrows sold decks of flower identification cards which very often were framed when the tourist arrived home.
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