by Maria Sofou
It’s true: the very first kiss ever filmed was between two women!
Shot by pioneer English photographer Eadweard Muybridge sometime between 1872 and 1885, the series features footage of two naked women greeting and kissing. Significantly before the invention of the motion picture camera, the film was created using cameras shooting rapidly in sequence.
Due to social conventions of the time, Muybridge could not film naked men in the same frame as women but nudity was crucial to him in order to show the viewers the motion of human body – therefore, he used these female models in an act that – surprisingly- was not shocking at the time. Muybridge online archives explains: “To many modern eyes this plate and others like it read as homo-erotic. It would not have been read so in Muybridges time. While the Victorians were extremely sexually prudish by modern standards and commonly considered male homosexuality a serious threat to their society they believed women had little or no sex drive. Therefore the possibility of lesbianism was commonly ignored. Because of Victorian sexual taboos Muybridge was not able to photograph men and women naked together and was only able to publish images of naked men together engaging in sports or work. Because he was free to show women naked together he used female models when he wanted to show two people engaging in ordinary activities. In many plates he had one of the women assume a typically male role and these are the plates which today we tend to perceive as homo-erotic.”
Muybridge’s work was not the only intriguing thing about him as he actually shot and killed his wife’s lover upon suspicion that he may have fathered their son!