28. January 2020

Eadweard Muybridge: The Human Figure in Motion. Sequences (1887/1901)

For the following two picture galleries, the chronophotographic sequences from Eadweard Muybridge’s photo documentation “The Human Figure in Motion” have been digitized. The book was first published in 1901, the edition used here dates from 1907. However, the individual photos are significantly older and a selection from the major work “Animal Locomotion. An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements”, published in 1887 with a total of 781 plates. The pictures itself were already taken in the years 1872-1885 (!).

The sequences show movement studies of the male or female body in a variety of situations: In the case of men, these are primarily movement phases during the exercise of sports (sprint, running, long jump, high jump, throwing, shot put, baseball, cricket, rowing, wrestling, fencing, boxing), in everyday situations (walking, carrying weights, climbing an ascent, climbing stairs, etc.) or during physical work (marching with a rifle, forging, digging).

In the case of the female movement studies, there is a more aesthetic approach, which is obviously also due to the moral understanding of the Victorian age. In addition, only a part of the female models was photographed undressed. Mostly, everyday movements are shown here – if you want to include jumping over boulders with a fishing rod and basket. There are also reenactments of domestic activities, playful movements (such as jumping rope), dancing, and even taking a bath.

Of the total of 87 series photographs, 76 images have been reproduced here. A smaller part is missing: In some cases, for example, the image quality was really too bad. Children’s movement studies have also not been digitized. The sequences by the way only form one chapter in Muybridge’s book, which also contains an appendix with numerous selected single images (see here: The Human Figure in Motion. Miscellaneous phases).





Original title/source: The Human Figure in Motion. An Electro=Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Muscular Actions. Third impression. pp. 17-189.

Type of publication: extensive large-format illustrated book with a solid cover and accompanying text, chronophotographical documentation with monographic character; images rasterized

Technique: Chronophotography, burst mode

Artist/Photograph: Eadweard Muybridge

Editor: Eadweard Muybridge

Publisher: Chapman & Hall, LD (London)

Date of publication: 1907 (first published in 1901, pictures first published in 1887)

Date of creation: 1872-1885

Number of images: 87 photographic series, 76 reproduced here

Original size publication: approx. 31 x 25 cm (approx. 12 x 10 inch)

Original size images/views: varies, mostly approx. 20 x 6-12.5 cm (approx. 7,9 x 2,4-5 inch), some pictures differ from this basic format

Place (depicted/shown): non-existent

Subjects, depicted or mentioned persons: Chronophotography, movement studies, movement sequences, human body, nude photography, sport, work

GND entry Artist/Photograph: http://d-nb.info/gnd/118735438

Wikidata entry Artist/Photograph: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q190568

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