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Eadweard Muybridge

Muybridge, Eadweard (ĕdˈwərd mĪˈbrĭj) [key], 1830–1904, English-born photographer and student of animal locomotion. Muybridge changed his name from Edward James Muggeridge. A gifted and obsessed eccentric, he was a photographic innovator who left a vast and enormously varied body of work. He immigrated to the United States in the early 1850s and settled in San Francisco. In 1872 he made some experiments in photographing moving objects for the U.S. government. Afterward he was engaged by Leland Stanford to record the movements of a horse using 12 sequential still cameras triggered by threads. He invented (1881) the zoöpraxiscope, which projected what he called "serial photographs" on a screen, producing images that appeared to move and were forerunners of the motion picture. He wrote The Horse in Motion (1878) and The Human Figure in Motion (1901). His Animals in Motion (1899, repr. 1957) consists of 11 portfolios: thousands of pictures of men, women, children, amputees, and many domestic and wild animals in action. This work was of considerable importance to artists. He also made outstanding landscape studies in Central America and Yosemite and panoramic views of San Francisco. Muybridge murdered his wife's lover in 1874; the case was dismissed as justifiable homicide.

See K. MacDonnell, Eadweard Muybridge: The Man Who Invented the Moving Picture (1972); R. B. Haas, Muybridge: Man in Motion (1976); G. Hendricks, Eadweard Muybridge: the Father of the Motion Picture (2d ed. 2001); P. Hill, Eadweard Muybridge (2001); R. Solnit, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2003); E. Ball, The Inventor and the Tycoon (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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