Eadweard Muybridge was a leading photographer in California when the wealthy horse enthusiast Leland Stanford approached him in 1872 hoping to obtain accurate views of a running horse. In part this was to settle the “unsupported transit” controversy—are there moments when all four of a horse’s feet leave the ground while trotting or galloping? Stanford funded Muybridge’s ingenious experiments in sequential photography using trip wires, advanced mechanical shutters, and unprecedented short exposure times. Muybridge’s photographs became a sensation in Europe when he displayed them in rapid succession, creating the effect of a motion picture. In the 1880s at the University of Pennsylvania, he continued his photographic studies. There he made tens of thousands of photographs of animals and humans in motion. Because of his work in sequential photography, Muybridge is regarded as a father of the motion picture. “Muybridge’s pioneering experiments with the sequential photography of moving figures were instrumental in the later invention of the motion picture”.
Muybridge’s monumental achievement is documented in his magnum opus, Animal Locomotion. The 781 plates were printed in collotype.