Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steampunk Notables: Eadweard Muybridge, inventor of the Zoopraxiscope

The famous "Horse in Motion" set, by Eadweard Muybridge, 1878

On my way from work, I happened upon a unique biography on a Mr. Eadweard Muybridge, a legendary photographer from the era, whom I had only a passing knowledge about.  He was perhaps best known for his sequential images of motion, with his most famous being that of a horse galloping.  So innovative at the time, it was thought that he had doctored the photographs, because a horse could in no way have "all four feet off the ground - if so, the human eye would have seen it happen"!  However, it was true - and he proved it on his invention, the Zoopraxiscope!

"Valley of Yosemite", by Eadweard Muybridge, 1872

Additionally, he was a pioneer at taking photographs of nature, showing the beauty of the wild to the masses who may have never known such breathtaking place existed in the United States.  So influential were his images, they are said to have been of direct inspiration to the legendary American photographer, Ansel Adams.

Photograph of Eadweard Muybridge

Not only an inventor and artist, but he led a very colorful life - including how he dealt with the man having an affair with is young wife (hint: he was acquitted)!   Do take a moment to listen to the bio presented by NPR, but also take a bit to learn about a gentleman who most certainly belongs in the pantheon of Steampunk Notables!

For more information regarding Mr. Muybridge, please visit the biograph on him, at:

And the following websites...


Der Geis said...

Is that really a photograph of Eadweard Muybridge? The sharpness seems much more mid-20th Century than the late 19th Century in which he lived. I seem to remember there was some sort of play about Muybridge, could this be a publicity photo of the actor frm one of those productions?

Steam Spectre said...

Excellent! I blogged a little bit about him for the inaugural post for my blog! He was a new discovery at the time. Very interested in learning more...