Etienne Jules Marey was a French physiologist (a scientist who studies the functions of the body), who was inspired by Muybridge's work to think of new ways of studying movement through photography. He had the same problem as Muybridge, though - the glass plates used for taking photographs at this point could not be changed quickly, so fast movements could not be captured easily.
Marey came up with two solutions. The first was to take multiple images on the same plate, so that all the movement could be analysed on the same print. This worked well for images with a movement along the plate, but less well for more static images. You can see that here: the man jumping over the chair shows the movement well, but the picture of the fencer is less easy to break down into the different movements of the subject.
The multiple-exposure method was hopeless for photographing birds in flight, which were one of Marey's main interests. So Marey came up with a new idea. He created a 'photographic gun', which carried a glass plate instead of the bullets. When the trigger was pulled the plate rotated once in a second, while the shutter opened the same number of times each second. The photographer simply pointed the 'gun' at the bird, and continued to press the trigger while following the bird with the gun. The result was a plate with twelves different images set around the edge, which showed the different parts of a bird's flight.
None of these methods were really suitable for taking photographs that could be displayed as moving images. However, a new invention, in 1889, supplied the most important remaining element. Click on to the next page to find out what it was.
You can find out more about Marey at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.
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