Eadweard Muybridge’s cyanotypes are working proofs (contact prints) made from the more than 20,000 negatives he took at the University of Pennsylvania from 1884 to 1886. There Muybridge photographed human and animal subjects in motion from lateral (parallel), front and rear positions. For the lateral views he used up to 36 lenses in 12 to 24 cameras placed at 90-degree angles to his subjects, and he added more cameras, each holding up to 12 lenses and placed at 60-degree angles, for the front and rear “foreshortening” views.
Since the original negatives no longer exist, the cyanotypes record full images before Muybridge edited and cropped them for publication. Over 800 sets of proofs exist in the unique collection found in the Photographic History Collection of the National Museum of American History. Comparisons between Muybridge’s working cyanotype proofs and his final collotype prints prove that he freely reprinted, cropped, deleted or substituted negatives to make the assemblage of 781 collotypes in the portfolio Animal Locomotion.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.