Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904)
Eadweard Muybridge's 160 animal locomotion "moving" images (1872-1887)
In his early twenties, Eadweard Muybridge moved to the United States, where he was drawn to the primarily uncharted Western landscape. After a stagecoach accident, he convalesced back home in England and learned photography. Upon returning to the States in 1867, he soon earned his reputation photographing the landscape.
Apparently a hot-tempered man, Muybridge shot and killed his much younger wife's lover but was acquitted after a sensational trial, in part perhaps because he was friends with Leland Stanford, railroad magnate and governor of California. They became acquainted in 1872, when Stanford made a bet regarding a horse's gallop, contending that when a horse gallops, at some point all four of its feet are off the ground simultaneously. Stanford hired Muybridge to prove it photographically; Muybridge, using a system of trip-shutter, high-speed photography and twenty-four cameras, did just that. Never one for false modesty, Muybridge declared:
The circumstances must have been exceptionally felicitous that made co-laborateurs [sic] of the man that no practical impediment could halt and of the artist who, to keep pace with the demands of the railroad builders, hurried his art to a marvel of perfection that it is fair to believe it would not else have reached in another century.
Muybridge is best known for this work and his "Animal Locomotion" series of stopped-action motion studies completed in 1887.