Eadweard Muybridge


Between 1870 and 1914, photography made important attempts in the search for mobility. Explore reducing exposure time to get closer to the snapshot and quickly capture the details of a moving entity. The first positive results in this regard were provided by the English photographer Eadweard Muybridge, with his grouping of plates and prompt obturation.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 04/09/1830
  • Where he was born: Kingston-upon-Thames, UK
  • When he died: 05/08/190
  • Where he died:  Kingston-upon-Thames, UK

Who was Eadweard Muybridge?

Eadweard Muybridge was a prominent and diligent photographer , hailing from Kingston Upon Township, Great Britain. Pioneer in research on photographic studies and the use of multiple cameras. Their experiences served as the foundation for the conception of instant cinematography and photography.

  • Biography of Eadweard Muybridge
  • Death
  • Inventions of Eadweard Muybridge
  • Plays
  • Acknowledgments to Eadweard Muybridge
  • Curiosities

Biography of Eadweard Muybridge

He was born on April 9, 1830, in the United Kingdom. His real name is Edward James Muggeridge. He married Flora Shallcross Piedra, and they had a son named Florado Muybridge. He did various jobs as a magician, book trade, and photographer. In 1851, he migrated to the USA, taking the pseudonym Eadweard Muybridge. And by 1860, he returned to England after suffering an accident.

He is professionally dedicated to photography, capturing images of landscapes. By 1867 he returned to the United States , where they were entrusted with important jobs. The first outstanding proposals were landscapes and buildings. In 1872, he was hired by a California financier and politician named Leland Stanford for an engaging, interesting, and novel assignment.

He had to show that there was an instant in which galloping horses kept their four limbs in the air. This mission was later accomplished, in 1877, when he obtained a complete series of appropriate photographs. To achieve this Muybridge devoted himself to intense photographic experiments, observing animals and individuals in motion.

Lately he was a zoopraxicographer, a qualifier with which he described the process and the last device to reproduce. In 1882 he created an illusion of movement, sending a succession of photographs through a zoopraxiscope. He finishes his work successfully in 1885. And, in 1887 he published it under the title: “Animal locomotion, an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animals in motion.”

In 1889 he returned to London. Delivers speeches at the Royal Academy, Kensington South School of Art and other bodies. In 1901 a limited edition of his works was published in London, entitled “The human figure in motion”.


Eadweard Muybridge died on May 8, 1904 , in the same place where he was born, in the United Kingdom, in the municipality of Kingston Upon Thames. He was 74 years old, the cause of his death being prostate cancer.

Inventions of Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge did a series of experiments during his work as a photographer that resulted in important inventions. Verifying that, indeed, a horse could hold its four legs in the air for a moment when it was moving, was a great stimulus for him.

  • During 1892 and 1894, he created a new series of rounds for which he used hand-painted and photographically engraved profile designs on the rings. Certain vivid images were quite convoluted, and included multiple mixtures of series of movements of animals and individuals.
  • He invented a mechanical shutter with which he achieved a record exposure time of 1 / 500th of a second. He then used a row of large glass plate chambers with tripwires, which were activated by fine threads fired at the pace of the moving horse.
  • In 1878 he applied a new technique carried out on a track of about 40 meters, in which he made the horse of his research run. Parallel to it, he placed a battery of 24 cameras 21 inches apart. In addition, at both ends of the track and at angles of 90 and 60 degrees, he put another two batteries of cameras.
  • He created a timer formed by a rotating drum that rotated according to the speed of the horse and that at the appropriate moments sent electrical impulses to the cameras. Thus, perfecting his designs, finally in 1877, he obtained the famous sequence called The Horse in Motion.

Following these inventions and experiments, Eadweard Muybridge developed the zoopraxiscope in 1879. It is a primitive film projector that brought a strong light to reflect consecutive images. He created the optical illusion of movement, and for this reason he is considered as one of the fathers of the moving image.


Upon his return to the United States, in 1882, he began a project to film the movement of animals under the patronage of the University of Pennsylvania. It was supervised by members of the University, of science and art such as the great painter Thomas Eakins. He began this work in 1884, and the final work was photographed on October 28, 1885.

The University publishes it with the title of “Animal locomotion: a photographic choice of an investigation of the consecutive phases of animal movements” . Sponsored by the Ransom Center, it consisted of 11 volumes and 781 plates. Wild birds and animals were photographed at the Philadelphia Zoological Garden, farm animals; and domesticated animals.

He wrote “The posture of animals in motion.” These images, added to those of Animal Locomotion, total about 100,000 photographic plates. Some of his latest creations were published under the titles “Animals in Motion” and “The Human Figure in Motion”.

Acknowledgments to Eadweard Muybridge

Muybridge left a significant legacy to the artistic and scientific world . For this reason, he is world famous and recognized for his work in the study of human and animal movement.

  • In 1869, he was recognized for his large-format photos of landscapes, primarily in the Yosemite Valley . Also for this date I devised one of the first camera shutters.
  • In the 1990s, the music group U2 paid tribute to him by demonstrating in a video clip for their song Lemon, Muybridge’s techniques .
  • In 2009, a series of sequences of Muybridge’s photographs  were selected by graphic designer Víctor García to base the creation of MotionBats in Buenos Aires.
  • On April 9, 2012, on the occasion of the 182nd anniversary of his birth, Google pays tribute to Eadweard Muybridge by creating an animated doodle. In it appears the illustration of a rider on his horse.
  • The same year 2012, James Paul T. designs a large image inspired by the essay Horse in motion.
  • In 2019, the musical group Budapest made a video clip for their song “Young Ghost” , using original frames by Muybridge . He is also one of the characters and was assigned the honorary director credit.


A very particular aspect in the life of Eadweard Muybridge was the tragedy of which he was a part in the year 1874. His professional career was affected by a serious criminal act he committed. He murdered the lover of his young wife Flora Shallcross, a photo retoucher, who was twice his age. She gave birth to a boy, in April, whose name was Florado Helios.

In October of that year, Muybridge found behind a photograph of the child an inscription that read: Little Harry. He remembered seeing his wife with a man named Major Harry Larkyns, also known as Big Harry. Such a situation led him to deduce that little Harry was not his son, but the product of an infidelity.

The conclusion shocked him in such a way that he decided to kill him, and did so. It was a premeditated murder because he did not mind traveling by boat, train and horse until he reached Calistoga, where the man worked as a surveyor.

The manner in which he was executed left no doubts about the intent, because upon finding him he shot him under the left nipple, which caused his death. At that time catching a murderer in the act itself was extremely censored. He was close to being lynched, but managed to save himself.

The following year, 1875, the trial was held, where Eadweard Muybridge did not deny his guilt. However, despite being a defendant with the proper conditions to be sentenced to hang, he was acquitted of the charges to the surprise of all present.

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