Muybridge and the Riddle of Locomotion by Marta Braun


Muybridge and the Riddle of Locomotion by Marta Braun

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1900) is famous for his invention of very fast photography, and his discovery of how animals and people run. Born in England, he moved to California during the gold rush boom, became a celebrated landscape photographer, and then studied 'Animals in Motion' and 'The Human Figure in Motion'. For more than a century people have marvelled at his series of 'Locomotion' images, which depict horses, cats, and people moving in their natural instinctive ways. He was able to show the specific elements of our motion, so that they can be studied and understood. Most of us have seen Muybridge images on 'lenticular' postcards - 2,3 or even 4 printed images under grooved plastic, that seem to 'move' as they are tilted at different angles. Muybridge and the Riddle of Locomotion uses a unique combination of words, printed reproductions of Muybridge's classic photos, and lenticular images on the cover and on the book's pages, to concisely tell the history of these discoveries in the early years of photography. The lenticular images contained in the book - of a man, a horse, a cat, and more - will thrill and intrigue young readers, firstly by the 'magic' of lenticular images and their suggested motion, and also the true history of an enigmatic genius who invented fast photography and opened the door to the invention of movies.


Muybridge was a 19th-century British photographer best known for his photos of a horse. Leland Standford, a California racehorse breeder, felt that a better understanding of how a horses run would serve trainers, and the animals. Standford commissioned Muybridge to take rapid, successive photos of his racer, Sally G; people were specifically interested to know if at any moment during a race all four legs were off the ground (a bet was involved). Since high-speed photography had yet to be invented, Muybridge set up a series of cameras to snap images a tenth of a second apart. In addition to answering the question, the photos and similar experiments that followed allowed people to study animal and human locomotion. Braun explains Muybridge's efforts in clear terms, and, as she relates, his images led to experimentation with high-speed photography, ultimately resulting in the invention of movies. This slim volume has black-and-white reproductions of Muybridge's sequential photos, as well as four lenticular images that operate like animations. The latter will thrill kids, and while they suggest the photographer'the extent of it. Muybridge had a long career and took thousands of pictures; this book presents a sliver of his oeuvre and a moment in the history of photography, but they are an important sliver and an important moment.--Daryl Grabarek School Library Journal (12/01/2013)

About the Author

Marta Braun is an internationally known historian of locomotion photography and the beginning of motion pictures.

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Book Info


32 pages


Marta Braun
More books by Marta Braun


Publication date

14th November 2013



Publisher Profile

Firefly Books Ltd is an imprint of Firefly Press Ltd

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