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Tuesday, 22 January 2013


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Dependent upon treatment, this could be an intriguing book in much the way that the 'Surgeon of Crowthorne' was in its disclosure of the founding of the Oxford Dictionary.

The motif of the Muybridge homicide and trial also motivated Philip Glass to compose his chamber opera, "The Photographer".



There was an article about him over at Lens rentals some time ago.

[Very entertaining! I'd missed that one. --Mike]


Have you read Rebecca Solnit's River of Shadows: Edweard Muybridge and the Technological West? It's a sober and fascinating look at Muybridge and the vast changes in the perception of time and space that were taking place in the last quarter of the 19th century. It was the time of railroads, telegraphy, as well as photography and much else all leading to the modern world. I highly recommend it.

I'm sure I can't be the first to mention this, but Roger at Lensrentals had a blog post about him not too long ago:


Saw that book in B&N the other day. Here is another that is also interesting:


One should also note that Rebecca Solnit did a great job on her Eadweard Muybridge biography River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

The BBC also used it as the basis of a very watchable documentary in 2010 The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge in the Imagine series.

I recommend both.

His weird name went through a weird evolution too.

He started off a Edward James Muggeridge but switched to Muygridge in the USA then becoming Muybridge on return to the UK. Later he called himself "Eduardo Santiago Muybridge" in Guatemala. He later changed to the old spelling of Eadweard (again on return to the UK). His gravestone has his name as "Eadweard Maybridge". He signed some phots "Helios".

Dead weird, eh?

You should throw up a link to Rebecca Solnit's, River of Shadows. Have you not read that?

[I have not. --Mike]

There's also River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit on Muybridge, which I found to be well researched and well written. Less sensationalist marketing, too.


Let's get a KickStarter campaign up and running to buy the movie rights, then TOP can enter the treacherous world of movie production. This is a match made in heaven!

It must be in the air... Back around Thanksgiving, Roger Cicala had a long post about Muybridge on his blog at LensRentals.com


I think about Muybridge now and again. I blogged about a dog that restlessly paced around my studio. I took random photos, with strobe lighting, to study her restless legs in motion. http://topdogimaging.net/blog/skinny-legs

Rebecca Solnit's River of Shadows would seem to cover this territory very thoroughly already. Her book is so much the opposite of sensational as to make Muybridge's life rather dry and boring. Perhaps we can average the two and get something that is both exciting and historically valid :-)

Mike: you might not get anything back but some readers may be interested in knowing that this book is available as an iBook if you search for the shortened title: The Inventor and the Tycoon ... (prefer iBooks over Kindle)

I've seen the opera and it's wonderful, but since it's been mentioned a few times there seem to be a lot of "good morning major" songs out there,


and this too


That's a pretty remarkable portrait of Muybridge in your post. Do we know who took that? Is it a self-portrait?

I've had a Dover book for a while, I'm not sure whether it's still in print: "Muybridge's Animals in Motion" which has film strips which are interesting but also a CD Rom which, in addition to carrying the same images, animates a number of them.

ISBN 0-486-99767-7

Let's get a KickStarter campaign up and running to buy the movie rights

Buy the rights from who? It's a true story so there are no rights to be sold.

That's obviously Ctein's dad........

I'd like to second Walter Glover's recommendation for Simon Winchester's 'The Surgeon of Crowthorne' - a terrific read, retitled 'The Professor and the Madman' for our North American friends.
It encompasses the Civil War, insanity, slum-dwelling, a Victorian version of crowdsourcing, murder, charity and the crowning glory of lexicography. And it's based on a true story. No photography, though, that I can remember.

I really enjoyed Rebecca Solnit’s River of Shadows but Brian Cleeg‘s The Man Who Stopped Time was harder to put down.

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