The American realist painter and photographer Thomas Eakins was one of the people who convinced Provost Pepper to sponsor Muybridge’s project. Eakins was interested in what physiology could tell the artist about the body in motion. In 1884, he constructed a shed near Muybridge’s outdoor studio at the University of Pennsylvania, and modified a Marey-wheel camera to make chronophotographs of men running and jumping. By 1885, as Muybridge perfected his multicamera system and abandoned his own experiments with a Marey-wheel camera, Eakins dissociated himself from the Muybridge project and left the university grounds to work on his own.

Motion study taken with Marey-wheel camera, by Thomas Eakins Graphic reproduction Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Marey-wheel camera, October 5, 1885, by Eadweard Muybridge Cyanotypes on cardboard mount

By June 1885, Muybridge was making up to 36 images at a time to document movement from three different angles. With assistants hired by the university, Muybridge worked right through until the fall. By October 1885, he had made close to 20,000 photographs.

Muybridge’s assistants at University of Pennsylvania Photographer unknown Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Archives

“Walking, right hand on chin” (Catherine Aimer, July 16,1885) Animal Locomotion Plate 14, 1887 Cyanotypes on cardboard mount

During the winter of 1885, Muybridge organized and assembled the camera negatives, and printed them as cyanotypes (his working proofs). He then went back to his original negatives, enlarged them, and assembled them in composite glass plates. The 781 plates were printed as collotypes, put into portfolios, and sold by subscription in the fall of 1887.

Open letter from Eadweard Muybridge to the Philadelphia Press promoting Animal Locomotion, 1887

Original order form for Animal Locomotion with selection made for 209 prints and Muybridge’s own instructions for packing and shipping