Google today is celebrating the 182nd birthday of Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer of the Dutch ancestry who is famously know for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip.
Eadweard Muybridge was born in Kingston upon Thames, England in the year 1830. He moved to the US in 1855 and started his careers as a publisher’s agent and bookseller. After a stagecoach accident in which he received severe head injuries, he returned back to England for a few years. While recovering from the accident, he showed keen interest in photography and learned the wet-collodion technique.
Later in 1866, he moved back to the US and became a successful photographer, primarily focusing on landscapes and architectural subjects. His photographs were sold by various photographic entrepreneurs on Montgomery Street.
In the year 1872, former Governor of California Leland Stanford and a race-horse owner was looking for an answer to the question he had asked – “whether all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during the trot.” In order to get an answer to this, Standford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.
Five years later in 1877, Muybridge settled Stanford’s question with a single photographic negative showing Stanford’s Standardbred trotting horse Occident airborne at the trot. That is, he proved that the horse’s hooves were off the ground at the same time during the trot.
The Sallie Gardner at a Gallop or The Horse in Motion shows that the hooves do all leave the ground simultaneously. This was directed by Eadweard Muybridge and consists of 24 photographs, which shows in fast-motion that horses who are galloping lift all four hooves completely off the ground.
Eadweard Muybridge died on 8 May 1904 in Kingston upon Thames.