Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), a brilliant and eccentric photographer, gained worldwide fame photographing animal and human movement imperceptible to the human eye. Hired by railroad baron Leland Stanford in 1872, Muybridge used photography to prove that there was a moment in a horse’s gallop when all four hooves were off the ground at once. He spent much of his later career at the University of Pennsylvania, producing thousands of images that capture progressive movements within fractions of a second. I have been lucky enough to see this work in exhibition. Since viewing the exhibition I have noticed the increasing influence Muybridge has had upon my own work. In this instance I will be mimicking his techniques in almost all of my own photography. I believe a Muybridge’s studies in motion to have directly influenced me in my choice to shoot and exhibit my work in stop motion.

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge.

Although Eadweard Muybridge thought of himself primarily as an artist, he encouraged the aura of scientific investigation that surrounded his project at the University of Pennsylvania. Published in 1887 as Animal Locomotion, the 781 finished prints certainly look scientific, and historically, most viewers have accepted them as reliable scientific studies of movement. The recent rediscovery of Muybridge’s working proofs, however, demonstrates that he freely edited his images to achieve these final results.

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge. &qu...

The Zoopraxiscope.

The zoopraxiscope is an early device for displaying motion pictures. Created by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge  in 1879, it may be considered the first Movie Projector. The zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion. The stop-motion images were initially painted onto the glass, as silhouettes. Some of the animated images are very complex, featuring multiple combinations of sequences of animal and human movement. This creation of Muybridge truly caught my attention and imagination upon viewing, I now have the desire to incorporate this into my own work, although it seems unlikely it would be possible or suitable to exhibit this project.

Simulation of a spinning zoopraxiscope

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