© Kodak Collection/National Science & Media Museum
Birt Acres (1854-1918) cinematography pioneer, film-maker. Acres was born in America but educated in Paris from 1870. In the 1880s he moved to Britain. He began writing articles in the Photographic News Almanac on optics and photographic chemistry in the early 1890s whilst working as a photographer. In 1891, he joined the London and Provincial Photographic Association. In 1892 he became manager of Elliott & Sons photographic works. He began experimenting with photography once again and showed his work at the Photographic Society in 1892. A year later he was working with celluloid roll film, experimenting with its advantages over glass. In 1895, he became a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In the same year he briefly began making films for Robert William Paul. He ended working for Elliott & Sons and began to work with Stollwerk. In 1896 Acres presented a projector he had developed at the Lyonsdown Photographic Association and the Royal Photographic Society. He also opened a commercial cinema in Piccadilly but a fire soon closed it. In April the same year he started the Northern Photographic Works but sold it after a year. In 1898, he patented the Birtac, a cinematographic system for amateurs, but this failed to be successful. In 1901, he opened the Whetstone Photographic Works but this became bankrupt in 1909.
A magic lantern slide of the Bristol Channel off Lynton by Birt Acres, c. 1893.