Renowned for his contribution to the development of the motion picture, Eadweard Muybridge was a pioneering photographer. Alongside his remarkable photographic achievements, his personal life was riddled with melodrama, including a near-fatal stagecoach accident, a betrayal and a murder trial. Marta Braun’s new biography traces the sensational events of Muybridge’s life against his personal reinventions as artist, photographer, high-minded researcher and showman.
Muybridge’s opportunity in photography came in the 1870s, when his skills were enlisted by a racehorse breeder to prove the ‘unsupported motion controversy’ – the theory that during a horse’s stride, there was a moment when all four of its legs left the ground. The resulting collection ‘Motion Studies’ gave Muybridge a taste for the scope of his trade; photography could be more than landscapes, and he went on to apply it to the realm of scientific research. He invented the ‘zoopraxiscope’ as a means of capturing movement too quick for the human eye to record. Simulating motion through a series of stills, his pioneering use of sequence photography served as a forerunner to the introduction of cinematography in the 1890s, and his work has gone on to influence the worlds of art, science and photography.
Featuring newly discovered information about the photographer and his masterpiece Animal Locomotion this illuminating study examines the character of the man whose influence has resounded through generations. In Eadweard Muybridge, Braun considers why he was and is so central to the history of art, science, photography and motion pictures.
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