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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Scientific: Movement

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The study of movement through a sequence of successive still photographs was the foundation of cinema. It is a strange coincidence that two of the photographers whose research on the movement of animals and humans were born and died in the same years - Étienne Jules Marey ( 1830-1904) in France and Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) in the USA. Their innovations of multiple cameras, multiple images on single plates and improved shutters had enormous implications for physiology, medicine, sports and art where animal movement could now be shown with scientific accuracy for the first time. There were other scientists who should not be overlooked Ottomar Anschütz (1846-1907), Arthur Clive Banfield (11875-1965), Prof. A.M. Worthington, Ernst Mach, the Bragaglia brothers in Italy, the researchers into efficient workflows Frank B. and Lillian Gilbreth and Harold E. Edgerton (1903-1990) whose mastery of the stroboscopic flash captured multiple moments on a single frame.
Although the majority of the photographs in this exhibition created were for scientific purposes the influence they had on the art world was enormous. Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) saw the implications early on and without their inspirational images Marcel Duchamp's oil painting Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) could not have been created. That work itself led to Eliot Eliofson's wonderful photograph for Life Magazine (1952) of Duchamp descending a staircase



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