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Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge, English, 1830-1904

The photographer was born in 1830 in England as Edward Muggeridge but changed his name to Eadweard Muybridge before traveling to San Francisco around 1852. After a brief return to England for health reasons, Muybridge began working with Carleton Watkins in California. In the mid-1860s, he ventured to Yosemite Valley and made a series of photographs and stereoscopic slides which met favorable reviews. His technical achievement earned him enough attention to be appointed the Director of Photographic Surveys for the United States government, a job that sent him to unmapped western territories of Montana, Wyoming and the recent acquisition of Alaska.

1887, Eadweard Muybridge Animal Locomotion

Muybridge is best known for his action pictures of human and animal locomotion. Supposedly prompted by a wager concerning a horse's gait made by ex-California governor Leland Stanford, Muybridge made a study of a galloping horse in 1872 with fair results. Over the next five years Muybridge traveled and photographed throughout Central America, finally returning to the U.S. and to the study of human and animal locomotion in 1877. His continuing work with models in motion eventually led to his invention of the "zoopraxiscope," a moving picture machine that showed a rapid succession of images. Throughout the 1880s Muybridge lectured and made thousands of locomotion studies. With the help of Thomas Eakins, he worked at the University of Pennsylvania where he continued to refine his technique and eventually published Animal Locomotion. Muybridge's motion studies are considered to be a critical step in the evolution of photography to motion pictures. By 1900 Muybridge retired to his hometown in England where he died in 1904.

Books: Eadweard Muybridge: the man who invented the moving picture
by Kevin MacDonnell

1887, Eadweard Muybridge Animal Locomotion

 

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