Animal Locomotion #265

While some photographers and scientists focused on developing and improving the technology behind photography, others concentrated on uses for the medium. Englishman Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), American Thomas Eakins (1844–1916), French physicist Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904) and German Ottomar Anschütz (born Prussia, 1846–1907) all focused on utilizing the camera to study the science of motion, and became leaders of moving photography in a new direction.

Forming a partnership with a wealthy ranch owner, Muybridge began photographing horses in motion in order to capture the individual phases of a horse’s gallop. While Muybridge’s first photographs were a step forward, the first leap came when he set up a calibrated backdrop that allowed the running horse to trip electrically operated shutters on 12 different cameras, each at 1/1,000th of a second. This method provided a dozen shots in extremely quick succession, and revealed visual aspects of motion unavailable to the naked eye. First published in 1877, these photographs proved a horse has all four feet off the ground at the moment during the gallop when its feet are closest together – instead of furthest apart, as most artists depicted a horse in motion. Within a year of moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Muybridge created more than 100,000 negatives of people and animals in motion, 781 of which were published in the book Animal Locomotion.




Constant Pressure