Muybridge, Eadweard

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b. 9 April 1830 Kingston upon Thames, England
d. 8 May 1904 Kingston upon Thames, England
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English photographer and pioneer of sequence photography of movement.
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He was born Edward Muggeridge, but later changed his name, taking the Saxon spelling of his first name and altering his surname, first to Muygridge and then to Muybridge. He emigrated to America in 1851, working in New York in bookbinding and selling as a commission agent for the London Printing and Publishing Company. Through contact with a New York daguerreotypist, Silas T.Selleck, he acquired an interest in photography that developed after his move to California in 1855. On a visit to England in 1860 he learned the wet-collodion process from a friend, Arthur Brown, and acquired the best photographic equipment available in London before returning to America. In 1867, under his trade pseudonym "Helios", he set out to record the scenery of the Far West with his mobile dark-room, christened "The Flying Studio".
His reputation as a photographer of the first rank spread, and he was commissioned to record the survey visit of Major-General Henry W.Halleck to Alaska and also to record the territory through which the Central Pacific Railroad was being constructed. Perhaps because of this latter project, he was approached by the President of the Central Pacific, Leland Stanford, to attempt to photograph a horse trotting at speed. There was a long-standing controversy among racing men as to whether a trotting horse had all four hooves off the ground at any point; Stanford felt that it did, and hoped than an "instantaneous" photograph would settle the matter once and for all. In May 1872 Muybridge photographed the horse "Occident", but without any great success because the current wet-collodion process normally required many seconds, even in a good light, for a good result. In April 1873 he managed to produce some better negatives, in which a recognizable silhouette of the horse showed all four feet above the ground at the same time.
Soon after, Muybridge left his young wife, Flora, in San Francisco to go with the army sent to put down the revolt of the Modoc Indians. While he was busy photographing the scenery and the combatants, his wife had an affair with a Major Harry Larkyns. On his return, finding his wife pregnant, he had several confrontations with Larkyns, which culminated in his shooting him dead. At his trial for murder, in February 1875, Muybridge was acquitted by the jury on the grounds of justifiable homicide; he left soon after on a long trip to South America.
He again took up his photographic work when he returned to North America and Stanford asked him to take up the action-photography project once more. Using a new shutter design he had developed while on his trip south, and which would operate in as little as 1/1,000 of a second, he obtained more detailed pictures of "Occident" in July 1877. He then devised a new scheme, which Stanford sponsored at his farm at Palo Alto. A 50 ft (15 m) long shed was constructed, containing twelve cameras side by side, and a white background marked off with vertical, numbered lines was set up. Each camera was fitted with Muybridge's highspeed shutter, which was released by an electromagnetic catch. Thin threads stretched across the track were broken by the horse as it moved along, closing spring electrical contacts which released each shutter in turn. Thus, in about half a second, twelve photographs were obtained that showed all the phases of the movement.
Although the pictures were still little more than silhouettes, they were very sharp, and sequences published in scientific and photographic journals throughout the world excited considerable attention. By replacing the threads with an electrical commutator device, which allowed the release of the shutters at precise intervals, Muybridge was able to take series of actions by other animals and humans. From 1880 he lectured in America and Europe, projecting his results in motion on the screen with his Zoopraxiscope projector. In August 1883 he received a grant of $40,000 from the University of Pennsylvania to carry on his work there. Using the vastly improved gelatine dry-plate process and new, improved multiple-camera apparatus, during 1884 and 1885 he produced over 100,000 photographs, of which 20,000 were reproduced in Animal Locomotion in 1887. The subjects were animals of all kinds, and human figures, mostly nude, in a wide range of activities. The quality of the photographs was extremely good, and the publication attracted considerable attention and praise.
Muybridge returned to England in 1894; his last publications were Animals in Motion (1899) and The Human Figure in Motion (1901). His influence on the world of art was enormous, over-turning the conventional representations of action hitherto used by artists. His work in pioneering the use of sequence photography led to the science of chronophotography developed by Marey and others, and stimulated many inventors, notably Thomas Edison to work which led to the introduction of cinematography in the 1890s.
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Bibliography
1887, Animal Locomotion, Philadelphia.
1893, Descriptive Zoopraxography, Pennsylvania. 1899, Animals in Motion, London.
1901, The Human Figure in Motion, London.
Further Reading
1973, Eadweard Muybridge: The Stanford Years, Stanford.
G.Hendricks, 1975, Muybridge: The Father of the Motion Picture, New York. R.Haas, 1976, Muybridge: Man in Motion, California.
B.Coe, 1992, Muybridge and the Chromophoto-graphers, London.
BC

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Muybridge, Eadweard — orig. Edward James Muggeridge born April 9, 1830, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, Eng. died May 8, 1904, Kingston upon Thames English photographer. He immigrated to the U.S. from England as a young man, and in 1868 his photos of Yosemite Valley… …   Universalium

  • Muybridge,Eadweard — Muy·bridge (mīʹbrĭj ), Eadweard. Originally Edward James Muggeridge. 1830 1904. British born American motion picture pioneer, particularly noted for his series of photographs of horses in motion, taken by a set of still cameras. * * * …   Universalium

  • Muybridge, Eadweard — orig. Edward James Muggeridge (9 abr. 1830, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, Inglaterra–8 may.1904, Kingston upon Thames). Fotógrafo inglés. De joven emigró a EE.UU. y en 1868 se consagró con sus fotografías del valle Yosemite. Posteriormente,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Muybridge, Eadweard — soprannome di Muggeridge Muybridge, Edward …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Muybridge, Eadweard — (9.4.1830 8.5.1904) eigentlich Edward James Muggeridge, amerikanischer Fotograf englischer Herkunft, wanderte 1852 in die USA aus, wo er sich schnell als Landschaftsfotograf einen Namen machte. Bekannt sind heute vor allem seine ab 1872 gemachten …   Das Lexikon aus „Bernie's Foto-Programm"

  • Muybridge , Eadweard James — (1830–1904) American photographer Muybridge was born Edward James Muggeridge at Kingston on Thames in Surrey. He changed his surname and forename in his early twenties, the latter after the Saxon kings who were crowned at Kingston in the 10th… …   Scientists

  • Eadweard Muybridge — Birth name Edward James Muggeridge Born April 9, 1830(1830 04 09) Kingston upon …   Wikipedia

  • Eadweard Muybridge — Eadweard Muybridge, né Edward James Muggeridge, à Kingston upon Thames, dans la banlieue de Londres, le 9 avril 1830, mort le 8 mai 1904 (à 74 ans), est un photographe …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Eadweard James Muybridge — Eadweard Muybridge Eadweard Muybridge …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Muybridge — Eadweard Muybridge Eadweard Muybridge …   Wikipédia en Français

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