Noted for his ingenious and pioneering studies of motion, Eadweard Muybridge is widely recognized as a pivotal figure in the development of motion pictures, and a significant influence on the arts and sciences. Although he intended his photographs to be used as scientific documents and visual aides for artists, his studies of motion are also appreciated as aesthetic works, and have a surprisingly modern sensibility. Born in England and emigrating to the United States in his twenties, Eadweard Muybridge settled in California where he studied under Carleton E. Watkins and mastered the techniques of the collodion wet- plate process.
Muybridge began his career photographing Western landscapes, including a government commissions to photograph the Pacific Coast, and a series of large-format photographs of Yosemite. In 1868, he was appointed West Coast Director of Photographic Surveys for the United States government, and his skillful and highly regarded work won him a medal at the Vienna Exhibition in 1872. The same year, Muybridge began the work that we would become best known for: his motion studies. His famous investigations began by capturing the movements of a running horse in a stop-action sequence, and continued to the locomotion of other animals. In 1876, Muybridge photographed a 27-foot-long panoramic of San Francisco from Nob Hill, and for the next fifteen years, worked and lectured widely in America and Europe on the technological advances and applications of photography. Muybridge went on to photograph thousands of motions studies of both humans and animals primarily at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Philadelphia Zoo. Muybridge’s publications include Animal Locomotion (1887), Descriptive Zoopraxography (1893), Animals in Motion (1899), and The Human Figure in Motion (1901).