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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Eadweard Muybridge

Born: Edward James Muggeridge 
Other: E.J. Muybridge 
Other: Eadweard J. Muybridge 
Other: Edward Muybridge 
Pen: Helios 
Dates:  1830, 9 April - 1904, 8 May
Born:  Great Britain, England, Kingston-on-Thames
Active:  US
Worked in America for 40 years, photographing the Pacific Railway, Yosemite, Panama & Guatemala (1875) as well as a terrific series of panoramas of San Francisco. Series of photographs of galloping horse to show that, at any one time, all four legs were off the ground, led to further work in photographing movement, anticipating film.
[Contributed by Pam Roberts]
Some of his negatives were printed by Wyland Stanley in the 1950s. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
San Francisco, CA, US 
[6-7] *[Eadweard James Muybridge, originally Edward Muggeridge] "Photographer"; "Cosmopolitan Gallery of Photographic Art" & "The Flying Studio"; "Photographic Illustrations of the Pacific Coast", AK, CA, NV, UT, OR, etc., pub. by Bradley & Rulofson, often used imprint of "Helios". Produced fine and extensive groups of west coast views. Was backed by Leland Stanford to try photographing animals & people in motion, later worked in PA on same technique. B. 30 in England; to America in 51; D. 04. SEE Eadweard Muybridge: The Stanford Years; R.B. Haas: Muybridge, Man in Motion; Animals in Motion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Animal Progressive Movements. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Eadweard Muybridge
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

Eadweard Muybridge is most famous for his split-second studies of motion which began in 1872 with an attempt to capture the movement of a galloping horse. By 1877 he had developed a technique to place 12 cameras in a row to capture each stage of the horse’s movement. His books Animal Locomotion and The Human Figure in Motion made systematic studies of movement, and inspired artists in the twentieth century such as Francis Bacon. Later Muybridge experimented with a device to create moving images from still photographs, making him a pioneer of cinematography. 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

Further research

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William Vick
Eadweard Muybridge 
1881 (taken) 1950s (print)
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Exhibitions on this website

Theme: Scientific
ThumbnailScientific: Movement 
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Visual indexes

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Supplemental information


Eadweard Muybridge
English, 1830-1904

The photographer was born in 1830 in England as Edward Muggeridge but changed his name to Eadweard Muybridge before traveling to San Francisco around 1852. After a brief return to England for health reasons, Muybridge began working with Carleton Watkins in California. In the mid-1860s, he ventured to Yosemite Valley and made a series of photographs and stereoscopic slides which met favorable reviews. His technical achievement earned him enough attention to be appointed the Director of Photographic Surveys for the United States government, a job that sent him to unmapped western territories of Montana, Wyoming and the recent acquisition of Alaska.
Muybridge is best known for his action pictures of human and animal locomotion. Supposedly prompted by a wager concerning a horse's gait made by ex-California governor Leland Stanford, Muybridge made a study of a galloping horse in 1872 with fair results. Over the next five years Muybridge traveled and photographed throughout Central America, finally returning to the U.S. and to the study of human and animal locomotion in 1877. His continuing work with models in motion eventually led to his invention of the "zoopraxiscope," a moving picture machine that showed a rapid succession of images. Throughout the 1880s Muybridge lectured and made thousands of locomotion studies. With the help of Thomas Eakins, he worked at the University of Pennsylvania where he continued to refine his technique and eventually published Animal Locomotion. Muybridge's motion studies are considered to be a critical step in the evolution of photography to motion pictures. By 1900 Muybridge retired to his hometown in England where he died in 1904.
For more information, see Kevin MacDonnell's Eadweard Muybridge: The Man Who Invented the Moving Picture, Little, Brown & Company, 1972.
[Contributed by Lee Gallery]  

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.] Go to website
The International Photographers Hall of Fame has provided a biography. Go to website

Internet resources

Terms and Conditions

Animal Locomotion: Eadweard Muybridge "Grandfather of the Motion Picture" (1830-1904) ... 
Eadweard Muybridge 
Go to the "Collections - Permanent" page. 
Kingston Museum: The Edward Murbridge Bequest ... 
Eadweard Muybridge ... 
BBC website 
Bancroft Library (Online Archive of California) 
Check out the search systems - they have particularly good material on-line by Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), Isaiah West Taber (1830-1912) and Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). 
Eadweard James Muybridge (Who's Who of Victorian Cinema) ... 
Eadweard Muybridge - Stereograph catalog ... 
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum ( 
The Compleat Eadweard Muybridge ... 
Stephen Herbert in the UK is bringing together a comprehensive chronology of the life of Eadweard Muybridge. 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.76 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.350-351 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Eadweard Muybridge.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.198-199 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.255 
• Naef, Weston 1995 The J. Paul Getty Museum - Handbook of the Photographic Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum) p.136-137 
• Naef, Weston 2004 Photographers of Genius at the Getty (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum) [For this photographer there is a description and three sample photographs from the Getty collection. p.68-71] 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Eadweard Muybridge are included in this classic history.] 
• Sobieszek, Robert A. and Deborah Irmas 1994 the camera i: Photographic Self-Portraits (Los Angeles: LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art) p.227, Plate 9 [When the Audrey and Sydney Irmas collection was donated to LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992 the museum gained a remarkable collection of self portraits of notable photographers. If you need a portrait of Eadweard Muybridge this is a useful starting point.] 
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.42 [Analyzes a single photograph by Eadweard Muybridge.] 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Eadweard Muybridge was represented in 94 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
Library of Congress, Washington, USA 
Approximate number of records: 63 records 
Note: A single record may contain more than one photograph.
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