M2: WEB WATCH: The Father of the Motion Picture

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE FREAK

HE IS regarded as one of the pioneers of cinema, yet Eadweard Muybridge was a still-life photographer.

Muybridge was born in 1830 in Kingston-uponThames, a town which now houses The Eadweard Muy-bridge Bequest (http://213.48.46. 147/museum/muybridge/) a large archive of memorabilia and belongings relating to his life's work.

Hoping to make a name for himself, Muybridge emigrated to America in 1851 where he eventually moved into photography, taking landscape pictures. But a request in the 1870s to help a wealthy stable owner to discover whether all four legs of a horse leave the ground during a gallop led him down a very different path. Using the best camera equipment and darkrooms of the day, Muybridge developed a method of taking multiple images at high speed so he could record each fraction of a second of a horse's gallop.

The result was a series of photographs which froze time, captivating both the public and the scientific community. From here, the pioneer set about recording all manner of movement, from horses and birds, to people in some rather odd situations. …