FROM JOYS OF SUMMER TO ROYAL COURT PHOTOGRAPHER – Peter Elfelt, the pioneer of Danish film

The photographer who documented foreign dignitaries and pranks at the top of the stairs

Photographer and film director, known as the first movie pioneer in Denmark, Peter Elfelt was born in Helsingør on a January day, in 1866, becoming apprenticing in photography in Hillerød, also having studyng with a camera builder. In 1893, he opened his own atelier in Copenhagen, where his photographic skills became appreciated. By 1901, he was Royal Court Photographer.

In Paris, Peter Elfelt obtained cinematographe plans from the French inventor Jules Carpentier. In the beginning of 1897, he shot the first Danish film. During the following 15 years, he made nature films and newsreels about the Danish royal family. His 77 films are not only interesting from a cinematic point of view but they are also fantastic Danish contemporary documents.

Considering film as secondary to his work as a photographer, in 1901, he opened the “København Kinoptikon” movie theater. As royal court photographer, he had access to the most important people and events at his time, which is reflected by his films. Peter Elfelt shot the first advertising film. Capital Execution, his 1903 short film based upon the execution of a French woman who murdered her two children, was the first fiction film made in Denmark. His collection at The Danish Film Institute holding is truly exceptional, offering you a broad view of life when the moving image was in its infancy.

If you want to know photographic stories already published, you can type The intellectual properties of the images that appear on this blog correspond to their authors. The only purpose of this site is to spread the knowledge of these creative people, allowing others to appreciate the works.


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