Illustration by Joda, @joda_art
Born in 1855 in Pathead, near Fife, and raised in Edinburgh, James Williamson was a prolific pioneer of early film-making. A member of the ‘Brighton School’, he is known for his experimental short films, which were ahead of their time, with their extreme close-ups and use of multiple shots.
After training as a master chemist in Scotland, Williamson settled in Hove in 1886, where he set up a pharmacy. The shop soon became a developing agency for Kodak, prompting Williamson’s relationship with film. He befriended the likes of George Albert Smith, Esmé Collings and William Friese-Greene, who were spearheading the local film movement, and with Smith’s encouragement, Williamson made his first foray into film-making with his short piece on the Devil’s Dyke Fun Fair... [read more]