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Eadweard Muybridge

April 9, 1830 - May 8, 1904


Born in the historical town of Kingston-On-Thames in England, Edward Muybridge, later known as Eadweard, grew up to make some of the most innovative additions to the motion picture industry. In 1852, he immigrated to America and eventually ended up in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush. Running a successful bookstore meant he could pursue his photographic career. In the 1860s, the US government employed Muybridge to photograph some of their newest frontiers, including Yosemite Valley, Alaska, the Pacific Railroads, and lighthouses on the coast. His official title was Director of Photographic Surveys for the US Government. In this decade, he also invented one of the first camera shutters. One of his most infamous accomplishments is in motion photography. In 1872, the Governor had commissioned Muybridge to capture the moving gait of his racehorse. It had been a mystery exactly how horses ran, the exact movements of their legs were unknown. His first attempt was unfinished as he was indicted for the murder of his wife’s lover and moved to Central America. After capturing shots of the scenery in Central America, he moved back to the United States. Finally, in 1877, he reattempted to capture a moving horse and succeeded by using twelve cameras that the horse’s movement could trigger. The zoopraxiscope, which he invented in 1879, allowed Eadweard to project up to 200 images on one screen. One of his last commissions was working for the University of Pennsylvania and producing over 100,000 photos of nude humans and zoo animals in motion.

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