Eadweard James MUYBRIDGE (United Kingdom / USA - 1830 / 1904)
Born Edward MUGGERIDGE, April 9, 1830. In 1852, taking on an Old English Name of a more heroic connotation, he emigrated to America to seek his fortune. Settling briefly in both New York City and San Francisco, working as a book publisher, he returned to England. During the next five years, he studied photography and, "armed" with purchases of some of the latest equipment, he returned to San Francisco in 1866.
Post-civil War America saw the burgeoning of photography, particuraly stereoscopic, for home parlor entertainment. MUYBRIDGE capitalized on this and quickly made a name for himself; more exactly it was a pseudonym he made. Traveling through the city with a horse-drawn "Flying Studio", HELIOS published thousands of views during the late 1860’s and into the 70’s. Included were a widely acclaimed 360 panorama of San Francisco and some of the earliest photographs of Yosemite.
He was, of course, quickly recognized by the elite of California and often hired to photograph not only their portraits but also their newly built mansions.
Recuperating from his task of directing the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, Lelan STANFORD took up the breeding and training of racehorses. Quicly absorbed in what was the passion of the time, he spent much of his fortune. A popularly-debated question of these times : whether during a horse’s gallop, all four hooves were ever off the ground at the same time. STANFORD sided with this assertion and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically (the legend also includes a wager of up to $25,000).
By 1878, MUYBRIDGE had successfully photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of fifty cameras. The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse’s, and each of the camera shutters was controlled by a trip wire which was triggered by the horse’s hooves.
Twenty years before the invention of the cinematograph, MUYBRIDGE broke up the movement into photographs!
This work will take 3 years and will end with the publication of the book : THE ATTITUDE OF ANIMALS IN MOTION
Now a celebrity, MUYBRIDGE toured throughout America and Europe as both a scholary lecturer and a showman, using his hown "Zoopraxiscope" - in fact, a magic lantern combined with a phénakistascope...
MUYBRIDGE returned to England in 1894, and died on May 8, 1904 in his home town of Kingston-on-Thames.