Eadweard J. Muybridge (pronounced /ˌɛdwərd ˈmaɪbrɪdʒ/; 9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904) was an English photographer 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’s experiments in photographing motion began in 1872, when the railroad magnate Leland Stanford hired him to prove that during a particular moment in a trotting horse’s gait all four legs are off the ground simultaneously. His first efforts were unsuccessful because his camera lacked a fast shutter. The project was then interrupted while Muybridge was being tried for the murder of his wife’s lover. Although he was acquitted, he found it expedient to travel for a number of years in Mexico and Central America, making publicity photographs for the Union Pacific Railroad, a company owned by Stanford.
The enduring of influence of Muybridge’s work can still be seen in artists such as Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp and Francis Bacon. He has even been cited as a reference point for Hollywood blockbuster, The Matrix, and a Phillip Glass opera.