Eadweard Muybridge never realized the level of success he hoped for with his photographs. Only 27 complete Animal Locomotion portfolios including all 781 prints were sold. But many lots of smaller 100-print sets were sold to influential artists and institutions, both American and European. Eventually, his printer went bankrupt, and Muybridge returned to his birthplace, Kingston-upon-Thames, England, where he died in 1904.
Muybridge’s influence on our visual culture has been profound. From the 1880s, he lectured widely and received favorable press coverage for his work. Animal Locomotion has proven to be an important resource for studying the body in motion, especially for artists. Muybridge’s legacy is also evident in the later development of motion pictures.
You Be the Critic
Eadweard Muybridge was a photographer, director, and editor, as we know those terms today. Under the guise of science, he manipulated and assembled his photographs of human and animal locomotion to achieve the best prints of the activities photographed. Yet his photography continues to influence artists, photographers and film makers, and researchers.
What do you think of his photography? Can you see his influence today? Did it matter that he manipulated his results? Or that many photographic images we see each day are manipulated?