1872: FIRST PHOTOGRAPHIC LOCOMOTION STUDY WAS COMMISSIONED TO SETTLE A BET
1872 First Photographic Locomotion Study Was Commissioned to Settle a Bet.
In 1872 Eadweard Muybridge was working on a government-sponsored photographic survey of the Pacific Coast. At the same time, a controversy arose which involved one of the pioneer California horse breeders, Governor Leland Stanford. Stanford had bet $25,000 that when a horse is at a fast trot, all four of its feet were off the ground. To prove his point, he contracted Muybridge to make a photographic study documenting animal motion. At an elaborately designed experiment station on Stanford’s farm (later the site of Stanford University), Muybridge set up a series of stereoscopic cameras connected to a timing apparatus which electrically tripped the cameras’ shutters at specific intervals of time. Muybridge’s photographs were then mounted in sequence on a paper strip and viewed in a “Zoetrope,” a forerunner of the movie projector. Stanford won the bet, and Muybridge continued his research into various forms of animal locomotion, from crawling infants to elephants.
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