The running man….. ‘endlessly mysterious to contemplate’

Proving that just one of Muybridge’s thousands of images can support an entire essay, Luke McKernan philosophises about ‘The running man…’ – at The Bioscope.
Here’s a small sample, but do read the whole piece.

“It is perhaps the most iconic of all photographic images. Eadweard Muybridge’s running man (he made several photographic sequences of a man running, but I’m thinking of the one illustrated here) conjures up the very idea of photography. It has captured the instant, has brought a moment out of its specific time into all time. We can hear the click of the shutter. It is one of a sequence of twelve, any one of which can seen as representative, as all document the same action, but the point where both legs leave the air is the most quintessentially photographic. It is the image for which photography was made……..

The running man is not a complete work in itself. It/he is part of Plate 62 of Animal Locomotion; one of twelve images taken in succession (plus another twelve images giving a side-on view of the same action). It is one twelfth of a work that one cannot ever pin down. Looking at the twelve images in sequence does not really tell us what the work signifies; looking at one of the images does [not] give us the full work; looking at the sequence animated falsifies what Muybridge tried to achieve. And the man did not run forever, as the animations suggest. He ran from one end of the track to another. Then he stopped. Muybridge’s work is endlessly mysterious to contemplate.”

To learn more about the men and women who posed for Muybridge’s motion studies, book now for Marta Braun’s lecture “Muybridge’s Models” – at the Tate Britain, Thursday 21st October, 1pm.
Posted here by Stephen Herbert