The book tried to capture an entire street in a single volume, reproducing every building standing on Broadway. The pictures were made using negative plates manufactured by the Lumière brothers. Some of the photos show New York's first cinemas, where "story" films had recently replaced "actuality" films, the short non-fiction form of cinema developed by the Lumières. The portability of the Lumières’ motion picture system had transformed everyday life into spectacle and created an appetite for the encyclopedic on an international scale. "One Side of Broadway" leaves the visitor to try to reconcile visual totality with the incomplete record of Broadway she or he sees before them.