Muybridge was a pioneer in both photography and science, he was the man who proved a horse can ‘fly’- that all four hooves lift off the ground at one point when running. Previous to attending the exhibition, I wasn’t a fan of his ‘Locomotion’ photographs, to me they seem purely scientific, and very repetitive. I do though, have great respect for him and his achievements, as he was a huge influence within photography, without him would photography as we know it be the same? Muybridge invented the zoopraxiscope, a method of projecting animated versions of his photographs as short moving sequences which lead to the development of Cinematography.
as the photographs are more scientific than artistic, Muybridge’s work doesn’t inspire me, I prefer looking at the photos as a reflection of the times- what was the equipment like then? For example, to create his famous photo sequences of animals, he used a batch of cameras triggered by the movement of the subject. Of course now we not only have motion cameras but they are digital as well, we could easily record a horse running to come to the same conclusion that Muybridge did 138 years ago in 1872- a horse can ‘fly’. Something that I didn’t know before I saw the exhibition, was that Muybridge also experimented with creating panoramic images composed from single photos. I found these panoramic images of San Francisco interesting because they show what the city was like at that time, and also because they are such good quality, prior to seeing them, I had never seen a photograph from that long ago that was a similar quality to modern day photographs.
I am glad that I saw the Muybridge exhibition because it is such a famous body of work, however, it is not something that I would choose to see again because I felt like it was more informative than anything and now that I have learnt about it, I wouldn’t want to see it again.
Below is a section from muybridge’s San Francisco Panorama, 1878