Models for Animal Locomotion

The University of Pennsylvania provided a number of students and other men, women, and children as models for Muybridge’s project. Many of the athletes, tradesmen, and teachers who were chosen to participate in this study of “the movements of everyday life” had a “well-earned record in the particular feat selected for illustration.” Muybridge also photographed hospital patients to illustrate their abnormal movements, and animals and birds from the Philadelphia Zoo.

Muybridge asked his human models to pose dressed and undressed, and to perform activities seemingly unrelated to the concerns of science. What physiological laws, for example, can be derived from a woman throwing herself on a heap of hay?

“Throwing self on heap of hay, woman draped” (Blanche Epler, September 24, 1885) Working proofs for Animal Locomtion Plate 455 Cyanotypes on cardboard mount

“Throwing self on heap of hay” Animal Locomotion Plate 455, 1887 Collotype

Trainers for animals often appear in the photographs Muybridge took at the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. The activities performed by Denver the mule during different photographic sessions (below, left) are incorporated into one final print (below, right).

“Denver, various performances at a table” (Mule, Denver, June 18, 1885) Working proofs for Animal Locomotion Plate 664 Cyanotypes on cardboard mount

“Denver, various performances at a table” Animal Locomotion Plate 664, 1887 Collotype

The cyanotypes pictured below allow the viewer to see the draped figure of the model, Mr. Tadd, in both lateral and side views. Mr. Tadd was one of the drawing instructors at the University of Pennsylvania at the time Muybridge made these photographs. The university provided a number of teachers, students, and other men, women, and children to participate in this study of the movements of everyday life. Records show that Muybridge also photographed Mrs. Tadd and the Tadd children.

“Movement of the hand, drawing a circle” (Mr. Tadd, July 24, 1885) Animal Locomotion Plate 532 Cyanotypes on cardboard mount

“Movement of the hand, drawing a circle”Animal Locomotion Plate 532, 1887 Collotype