Google has celebrated the 182nd anniversary of the birth of Eadweard J Muybridge, the British photographer, by creating a “doodle” based on his ground-breaking 19th-century images of racehorses.
The animated graphic celebrates Muybridge’s “The Horse in Motion”, a film strip-style collection of shots created using 24 cameras which capture the running habits of racehorses owned by Leland Stanford, a Californian businessman and animal breeder.
Stanford had wanted to know if galloping horses had all four legs off the ground, as previously portrayed by painters, and engaged Muybridge in an attempt to find out.
The photographs, taken in 1872 and regarded as one of the earliest forms of videography, demonstrated that all four legs often did leave the ground. However, they were not as artists had depicted them, with the legs stretched out fore and aft, but with the four legs tucked up under the horse.
The Google Eadweard J Muybridge, is the 1344th Google doodle since the first ever 14 years ago.
Eadweard J. Muybridge Google Doodle Youtube Video
Who is Eadweard J. Muybridge?
Eadweard J. Muybridge (9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904) was an English photographer of Dutch ancestry who spent much of his life in the United States. He is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion which used multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip.
Muybridge was born at Kingston upon Thames, England on April 9, 1830. He emigrated to the US, arriving in San Francisco in 1855, where he started a career as a publisher’s agent and bookseller. He left San Francisco at the end of the 1850s, and after a stagecoach accident in which he received severe head injuries, returned to England for a few years.
While recuperating back in England, he took up photography seriously sometime between 1861 and 1866, where he learned the wet-collodion process.
In 1874, still living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muybridge discovered that his wife had a lover, a Major Harry Larkyns. On 17 October, he sought out Larkyns and said, “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here’s the answer to the letter you sent my wife”; he then killed the Major with a gunshot.
Eadweard Muybridge returned to his native England for good in 1894, published two further, popular books of his work, and died on 8 May 1904 in Kingston upon Thames while living at the home of his cousin Catherine Smith, Park View, 2 Liverpool Road. The house has a British Film Institute commemorative plaque on the outside wall which was unveiled in 2004. Muybridge was cremated and his ashes interred at Woking in Surrey.
Filmmaker Thom Andersen made a 1974 documentary titled Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, describing his life and work.