Eadweard Muybridge (1830- 1904) is widely considered to be one of the most influential photographers in the study of motion. The English born Muybridge traveled to California around 1852. His early romantic views of the west gained him enough acclaim to be appointed the Director of Photographic Surveys for the United States government. Because the capturing of these grand western vistas required Muybridge to use huge glass collodion-treated plates, he was approached by ex-California governor Leland Stanford to photograph his beloved horse. The principal purpose was to settle a wager based on the positioning of a horse's legs in the action of trotting, the question being whether all four hooves came off the ground at the same time. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Muybridge managed to set up a battery of cameras enabling him to record split second movements. His continuing work with animals and models in motion eventually led to his invention of the "zoopraxiscope," a moving picture machine that showed a rapid succession of images. Throughout the 1880s Muybridge lectured in America and abroad. With the help of Thomas Eakins, he found sponsors at the University of Pennsylvania and there Muybridge continued his work, taking thousands of locomotion studies of men, women, children, animals and birds. The results were published in a epic portfolio of 781 folio prints after his photographs, Animal Locomotion. Muybridge's motion studies are considered to be a critical step in the evolution of photography to motion pictures.
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