Eadweard Muybridge was born as Edward Muggeridge, in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1830. He moved to America in his twenties and began to work as a landscape photographer, acquiring a substantial reputation for his work. At the request of the former governor of California, Leland Stanford, he began photographing horses to analyse their movement. His early work on this depended on capturing a picture at just the right moment. However, in 1878, he conducted an experiment to produce a sequence of photographs taken in quick succession.
The experiment was set up at the Palo Alto race course, with a series of twelve cameras set along the side of the course. The shutters of these cameras were connected to tripwires that lay across the course, so that as the horse passed these wires, the shutter of the camera would open and a picture was taken. Using this apparatus, Muybridge was able to show what the motion of a galloping horse looked like when captured on film - in particular, that there was one point when all of the horse's feet were off the ground at the same time.
Muybridge developed his sequence photography to study the movement of both animals and humans. He was also keen to attempt to show his sequence photographs as a moving image projected by a magic lantern. He developed a machine known as the zoopraxiscope - it projected a series of images from a glass disc, which turned past the lens of the projector, and gave the impression of a moving picture.
You can find out more about Muybridge at the Kingston Museum .
On the next page you can see a demonstration of the famous sequence of photographs of the horse galloping.
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