Eadweard Muybridge

American, born England

1830, Kingston upon Thames, England
1904, Kingston upon Thames, England

Biography

An accomplished bookseller, inventor, and businessman, Eadweard Muybridge advanced both technical and aesthetic applications of the photography medium. Born Edward James Muggeridge in 1830 in Kingston upon Thames, England, Muybridge began his career in 1867 in San Francisco, photographing the West at a time when the nature of landscape itself took on new meaning as railroads, steamships, and rapid means of communication began to connect the world in unprecedented ways. In the ensuing years he reinterpreted landscape photography, surveyed the construction of railroads and the growth of San Francisco and other areas of the Pacific Coast, and documented the Modoc War and the landscape and architecture of Central America.

Muybridge also used his camera to explore the potential of motion pictures. He devised techniques to freeze animal and human locomotion, to depict movement as sequences of still images, and to reanimate these in some of the first projected moving pictures. In 1878, working under the patronage of railroad baron Leland Stanford, Muybridge successfully photographed horses in motion, combining art and science to represent movements that were not visible to the eye. By 1887, when he published his masterpiece, Animal Locomotion, he had become one of the most influential photographers of his time, inspiring artists and scientists to look more closely at the nature of movement.


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