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200 × 130 × 15 mm
256 pages
51 illustrations
01 Sep 2010
Critical Lives
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Eadweard Muybridge Martha Braun

Renowned for his contribution to the development of the motion picture, Eadweard Muybridge was a pioneering photographer. Alongside his remarkable photographic achievements, his personal life was riddled with melodrama, including a near-fatal stagecoach accident, a betrayal and a murder trial. Marta Braun’s new biography traces the sensational events of Muybridge’s life against his personal reinventions as artist, photographer, high-minded researcher and showman.

Muybridge’s opportunity in photography came in the 1870s, when his skills were enlisted by a racehorse breeder to prove the ‘unsupported motion controversy’ – the theory that during a horse’s stride, there was a moment when all four of its legs left the ground. The resulting collection ‘Motion Studies’ gave Muybridge a taste for the scope of his trade; photography could be more than landscapes, and he went on to apply it to the realm of scientific research. He invented the ‘zoopraxiscope’ as a means of capturing movement too quick for the human eye to record. Simulating motion through a series of stills, his pioneering use of sequence photography served as a forerunner to the introduction of cinematography in the 1890s, and his work has gone on to influence the worlds of art, science and photography.

Featuring newly discovered information about the photographer and his masterpiece Animal Locomotion this illuminating study examines the character of the man whose influence has resounded through generations. In Eadweard Muybridge, Braun considers why he was and is so central to the history of art, science, photography and motion pictures.

‘Brauns meticulous study is rich in detail’ — Guardian

‘tells [Maybridges] story with clarity and economy and is particularly good on the battle between science and art in his photographs’ — The Art Newspaper

‘Brauns detailed study of the life and work show a complicated man, a combination of technical wizard, show-business pioneer, popular scientist and artist, whose work transformed or understanding of the human form.’ — New Statesman

‘Marta Braun has a grasp of enormous amounts of detail concerning the history of photography, as well as a lively understanding of the social and cultural history in which her subject existed. Her slim book punches above its weight.’ — Literary Review of Canada

‘Marta Brauns engrossing account of Eadweard Muybridge offers a new perspective on his life and work. Her detailed analyses provides rich insight and correct previous misinterpretations of Muybridges locomotion photography. Braun offers us an intriguing account of the first person to record photographic evidence of movement in split-seconds. A valuable first-rate work thats a pleasure to read.’ — Edward Burtynsky

‘As one might have expected from her definitive Picturing Time, Marta Brauns book on Eadweard Muybridge will be a fundamental contribution to the history of the photographic representation of locomotion.’ — Jonathan Miller

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Marta Braun is Professor at the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto. She is the author of Picturing Time: the Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1992) and in 1999 was co-winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Award for the book Beauty of Another Order: Photography in Science (1998).


1   Kingston to California
2   Helios in America
3   The Wild Wild West
4   Love, Loss and Central America
5   Panoramic San Francisco
6   Stopping Time on Stanford's Ranch
7   Touring Europe
8   Making Animal Locomotion
9   Final Years

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Photo Acknowledgements