Photography, which had been an important tool for Charles since first discovering his father’s camera equipment as a child, became increasingly important to both of the Eameses as a medium for communicating information.
They began showing a quick progression of sequential images in conjunction with their presentations, lectures, and informal talks. Eventually, Charles and Ray simultaneously projected two or three slides side by side. This became a standard Eames approach.
Lecture I was the first of many “fast-cut” slide shows designed to communicate concepts and present new projects. Charles and Ray first showed it to an audience at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The talk focused on the relationship between design and the structure of the natural and man-made world.
The slides included found objects, such as insect wings, feathers, and pressed flowers, placed between two glass plates for projection. They also showed toys, details of paintings, tools, machines, landscapes, natural forms, and buildings.
Over the years, the Eameses presented Lecture I to public groups, office visitors, students, and clients. They modified it each time in order to address the particular event and to include images of new interest. Charles’s Norton Lectures at Harvard in 1970-1971 were the high point in the evolution of the slide show and of the Eameses’ treatment of the subject itself.