Thursday, April 29, 2021

Muybridge Twofers

Today we look at dual panel snippets from Eadweard Muybridge's work.  
I'll caption these two separately.  Left:  "Hmph!"  Right:  "I caught one this big!"



  1. I've often wondered if the screens Muybridge used influenced the later photomorphic surveys carried out by the Ivy League universities and the American military.

    Muybridge was born in Kingston upon Thames (Cyninges tun - roughly "Kings' Englosure) which was the site of the crowning of the many of the early Anglo-Saxon kings. It was a Roman foundation, boasting the first bridge westward of London Bridge to cross the Thames. The place is steeped in history which is perhaps why Muybridge changed the spelling of his name to the Old English form, Eadweard - meaning ead "wealth, fortune, prosperous" and weard "guardian, protector". Hampton Court - built by Cardinal Wolsey but which he "gifted" to Henry VIII before the King threatened to chop his head off without bothering to marry him - is just nearby. Muybridge did most of his pioneering photographic work in Kingston upon Thames upon his return there, before once again crossing the Atlantic to America where he had emigrated at the age of 20. Despite the nudity, his photographs have a large display in the town's museum which somewhat surprised me - perhaps the English have finally got over their pretentious squeamishness over male nudity.

    1. According to the University of Pennsylvania Archives, Thomas Eakins began corresponding with Muybridge when Muybridge was working in California, eventually helping convince him to move to Philadelphia. Eakins was on the panel of professors who oversaw Muybridge's work. Perhaps surprisingly, they do not seem to have used the same models, with Eakins' having mostly been students and a few outside hires, while Muybridge drew from the athletic department.