Thursday, October 14, 2010


I plan to regularly post some short notes about the history of photography and photographers.  There is a lot of good detailed information available now, and I’m not going to simply regurgitate things anyone can simply google.  Instead, I want to mention some of the lesser know facts about how technology developed, what famous photographers did before they became famous, and how they were connected to other artists.  My interest grew out of an assigned research paper.  My subject was the 19th century photographer Edward James Muybridge.

If you recognize Muybridge at all, you probably think of him as that old guy who shot nude men and women performing everyday tasks such as walking, running, sweeping a floor or playing tennis. He also is famous for demonstrating that all the hooves of a galloping horse are briefly off the ground.  This part of his work was funded under the pretext of a scientific investigation into the nature of motion.  If this sounds weird let me say unequivocally: no, there is nothing salacious about his photographs.  He recorded many types of motion in animals and people but he didn’t look at every conceivable type of motion.  In fact there is much more to Muybridge than horse races and nudes descending staircases, and I will be posting it. 

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