Muybridge: art, science, photography, & a weird name

I'm too busy to write anything remotely interesting right now, so thanks, NYT & Bay Citizen, for filling the gap with an article about how Eadweard Muybridge. Best known for photo sequences capturing running horses and athletes, Muybridge bridged (ahem) art and science in his work, in addition to having a peculiar name*:

Like the multitudes of misfits who have been flocking to the Bay Area since the Gold Rush in search of a fresh start, Muybridge lived a life of constant artistic reinvention. He changed his name several times (he was born Edward Muggeridge in 1830 and eventually became Eadweard Muybridge in the 1870s) and brought an aesthetic sensibility to work that ranged across genres, including landscape, survey, war and documentary photography.

"There is always an overlap between science and art in Muybridge's work," said Lisa Sutcliffe, the assistant curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where an exhibition devoted to the artist opens Feb. 26. "Even when he was commissioned to make photos by a government or corporate entity, he was thinking about them in an aesthetic way."

This short film by Chocolate films shows how Muybridge's invention, the zoopraxiscope, helped him disseminate his discoveries about animal motion to an initially skeptical audience, and eventually expand into more imaginative experiments in proto-cinema:

Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope: Setting Time In Motion from Chocolate Films on Vimeo.

SF MOMA's Muybridge exhibition opens Feb. 26, 2011.

More on Muybridge (with nice old photos) from Nate Maas.

*from Wikipedia: "In the 1870s he changed his first name again to Eadweard, to match the spelling of King Edward shown on the plinth of the Kingston coronation stone, which was re-erected in Kingston in 1850."

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