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factfile1.2 Eadweard Muybridge


Animation and other moving image techniques owe a big debt to such pioneers of early photography as Eadweard Muybridge (1840 – 1904), who is often called 'the father of the moving image'. Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, England, he emigrated to the United States as a young man to become a landscape photographer.

At that time there was a heated debate about whether a galloping horse did or didn't take all four hooves off the ground simultaneously. Muybridge wanted to find a definitive answer and became fascinated by the challenge of recording movement. He photographed countless sequences of people, animals and birds in order to record and analyse different movements.

horse motion

His experiments in chronophotography (from the Greek word "chronos" for "time" = pictures in time) finally proved conclusively that a galloping horse did lift all four hooves off the ground when his book "Animal Locomotion" was published in 1887.

horse in motion

Muybridge developed an optical toy of his own design called the Zoopraxiscope to animate his human and animal locomotion photography.


In 2010 Tate Britain held an exhibition of Muybridge's photography and optical machines. You can
create your own Muyerbridged images on the site here. He's also been immortalised as a Google Doodle on his 182nd birthday.

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