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Artists Eadweard Muybridge
Eadweard Muybridge Photo

Eadweard Muybridge

British/American Photographer and Motion Picture Pioneer

Born: April 9th, 1830 - Kingston-upon-Thames, UK

Died: May 8th, 1904 - Kingston-upon-Thames, UK

Eadweard Muybridge Timeline

Summary

Eadweard Muybridge pioneered photographic techniques that allowed new forms of documentation of modern life. Muybridge combined refined aesthetic sensibilities, technological innovation, showmanship, and commercial wiles to position himself as the preeminent photographer of San Francisco's capitalist elite. His photographs of the Californian landscapes experiment with perspective and painterly effects, while his work for various government bureaux offers early examples of the ways in which photography could serve a propaganda role. Muybridge's most pioneering work was in the study of motion, capturing horses, humans and other animals carrying out a range of actions; his reduced exposure times allowed for sequences to be frozen into sets of images, resulting in a greater understanding of anatomy. Toward the end of his life, Muybridge began to experiment with setting these sequences in motion, which paved the way for subsequent development of the motion picture.

Key Ideas

Eadweard Muybridge played a significant role in the development of instantaneous photography, working with both chemicals and shutters to produce shorter exposure times. These meant that he was able to isolate particular moments, famously capturing the stages of motion, showing the audiences the positions through which animal and human bodies shifted while performing actions, which lead to advances in areas as diverse as zoology, painting, and motion pictures.
Muybridge's work created a bridge between Europe and the United States. While Paris and London were centres for photographic innovation, new forms of capitalism were emerging as the United States expanded westward. Muybridge drew upon contemporary European technological and artistic trends in order to document the changes taking place in late-19th-century California, constructing a modern identity for the West Coast of America.
Muybridge's attention to presentation had an impact long after his death, paving the way for post-war Conceptual artists to experiment with photography's apparent veracity. Muybridge used precise measurements, grid arrangements, and sequencing to construct an image of objectivity that continues to be persuasive. His photographs presented the motions of life in ways that transformed the everyday into the spectacular.
Eadweard Muybridge Photo

Eadweard Muybridge, then Edward James Muggeridge, was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, a market town southwest of London, in 1830. England changed rapidly during his youth, as the Industrial Revolution widened the gap between the wealthy and those living in poverty as new technologies were developed and traditional agriculture waned. Muybridge's father worked as a coal and grain merchant and this position, coupled with the position of Kingston-upon-Thames as a trade centre, meant the family were secure despite the changes. Muybridge and his two younger brothers were exposed to the delights of the modern age without the dangers. Muybridge was reportedly adventurous as a child, with a desire to explore the world from an early age. Muybridge's father died in 1843 and his mother took over running the family business, which operated successfully into the 1850s.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Eadweard Muybridge
Interactive chart with Eadweard Muybridge's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Silas Selleck
Julia Margaret CameronJulia Margaret Cameron
√Čtienne-Jules Marey

Personal Contacts

Carleton Watkins

Movements

Landscape Photography
Motion Pictures

Influences on Artist
Eadweard Muybridge
Eadweard Muybridge
Years Worked: 1855 - 1904
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Ansel AdamsAnsel Adams
Edgar DegasEdgar Degas
Dorothea LangeDorothea Lange
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp

Personal Contacts

Thomas Edison
Thomas EakinsThomas Eakins

Movements

Landscape Photography
RealismRealism
SurrealismSurrealism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Adam Heardman

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Adam Heardman
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 28 Nov 2018. Updated and modified regularly.
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