Today is the 188th birthday of Eadweard Muybridge. While Muybridge may not be a household name, most of us enjoy the fruits of his photographic studies of motion. You see, Muybridge is credited with capturing movement on film which laid the groundwork for the movies and videos we enjoy today. His studies all started with this experiment capturing the running movement of a horse. I rather love it when art and science collide, so I think the story of how his study of horse movement came about is interesting.
In 1872, Leland Stanford (think, governor of California, businessman, Stanford University...) hired Muybridge to answer the debate (or some may say "bet") of whether all four feet of a galloping horse leaves the ground at the same time. Over time, Muybridge perfected a photographic method for capturing a trotting horse to confirm that all four hoves are indeed off the ground. Whew! That was the camp Standford was in so... now, Stanford wanted to study the galloping horse. Muybridge set about planning the experiment on Stanford's Farm (now the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California) using Stanford's horse, Sallie Gardner. The study is referred to as the "Sallie Gardner at a Gallop", or probably more commonly referred to as "The Horse in Motion".
So, here is the interesting part of how Muybridge captured the images for the study. Muybridge set up cameras in a line with a thread or string from each camera's shutter release. When the horse passed, the thread triggered the camera shutter to capture the images in sequence. Genius. Right? Muybridge continued to work on motion studies and eventually invented the "zoopraxiscope" to view the images in succession. This invention was, in essence, the precursor of the movie projector that grew-up to become the motion pictures we enjoy today.
Okay, that is just the motion study of the horse, but there is much more to Eadweard Muybridge's life (Click HERE to watch a quick video about him). So, today, as you are enjoying that video (don't worry, I won't tell your boss) think about Eadweard Muybridge.
Happy birthday Eadweard Muybridge! And, thanks for the moving pictures.