Muybridge (all over) Kingston

The Muybridge in Kingston project is currently inescapable in the old photographer’s home town. The Muybridge Revolutions exhibition (original lantern slides and motion discs) at the Museum continues until 12 February, with ongoing lectures.

Barkman Computers in the High Street – Muybridge’s childhood home, just across the street from the Coronation Stone – has a large window display, and in the Rose Theatre next door some of Trevor Appleson’s large colour photographs of human movement/activity are being shown. In the evenings, there are spectacular Nocturnal Projections (18 Sept – 11 Feb).

A few yards down the road at the Market Square, the ancient Market House recently housed a display of local children’s artwork inspired by the old photographer’s sequences of people in motion. As well as single-phase drawings of people in motion and photo-sequences for animating in mini cardboard zoetropes, the children made their own versions of the commemorative plaque that’s on Muybridge’s original house, with details of how they would like to be remembered – from the inevitable “league footballer” to “auther”. (More about the children’s work in a later post.)

This artwork was also in one of the rooms at the Stanley Picker Gallery.

Also at the Stanley Picker, is Appleson’s Dance of Ordinariness“an ambitious new moving-image and photographic work inspired by Muybridge’s famous collotype sequences of human figures. As part of a residency at The London Contemporary Dance School, the artist has invited dancers to reinterpret gestures and actions that relate to the various visual narratives that Muybridge himself built into his original motion studies”. The multi-screen presentation echoes the multiple-view format of the Animal Locomotion plates. One sequence shows water flowing from a mop in slow motion – the effect half-way between Muybridge’s time-frozen water in a similar scene, and watching this happen in real time –  allowing us to see (as in Muybridge’s published collotype sequence) the detail in the water’s movement, at the same time that the synthesized motion is being presented.

The exhibition runs until 13 November, with Becky Beasley’s exhibition following from 24 November.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert.

Children’s artwork, and workshop photograph, reproduced by kind permission of Natalie Kay, Education Coordinator for the Stanley Picker Gallery.

Flying horses to Avatar

Flying horses to Avatar – Eadweard Muybridge comes home to Kingston—eadweard-muybridge-comes-home-to-kingston.html

For a succinct guide to the Muybridge in Kingston project, it’s well worth spending 13 minutes viewing the new video featuring David Falkner, Director of the Stanley Picker Gallery.

“Kingston University and Kingston Museum have teamed up to run a major programme of events and activities promoting Eadweard Muybridge. This coincides with the first significant retrospective of the famous photographer’s work arriving at Tate Britain from the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC.

David Falkner … believes that, in 2010, Muybridge’s work is more relevant than ever. In this interview he explains how Muybridge’s experiments have direct links to modern films such as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

From Muybridge to The Matrix

Professor Anil Kokaram

I’ve previously mentioned Muybridge’s TimeSlice or Bullet Time sequences, now there’s a short video explaining the 20th and 21st century developments of creating extra frames when using this technique for movie making. These extra frames are necessary because it’s difficult to position a sufficient number of bulky cameras in the necessary circle to photograph the required number of positions to give a smooth result on the screen. Having developed this ‘artificial inbetweening’ method, Professor Anil Kokaram of Trinity College, Dublin (whose previous work has involved image restoration of old films), explains how it can also be used to produce artificial inbetweens for any movie sequence, making it possible to produce slow-motion movie sequences in post-production, from footage shot at normal speed.

Professor Kokaram states that Muybridge used engineers from the University of Pennsylvania (1884-85) to produce the necessary “kit” (exposure devices), but in fact Muybridge’s experiments in “Bullet Time” started before his involvement with the University. An article in the New York Times in 1881 (February 19) entitled ‘Instant photography; results of the California experiments’ described an earlier 5-camera ”Bullet Time” session (1878 or 1879).

“Mr. Muybridge, once in the studio of Mr. Perry, watched with interest the artist endeavoring to outline the picture of a California coach and four. He had Mr Muybridge’s pictures as a guide. But these were broadside views, and he wanted a quartering view. Mr Muybridge hastened back to Palo Alto, arranged five cameras in a semicircle and concentrating upon one point, galloped a horse over the point where the electric current was completed, and produced a perfect picture of a horse at fullest speed, as seen from five different points of view, all at the same instant of time and while, of course, the horse was in one and the same position. Now, an artist with these pictures as guides can draw a horse in any position desired.”

To go back to the video – Anil Kokaram’s explanation of Muybridge’s contribution is incomplete. He emphasizes the familiar motion sequences of a horse – “it’s pretty complicated – it’s got wires and stuff” –  and mentions multiple camera positions (used in many of Muybridge’s sequences) but the video doesn’t make it too clear that his subjects shot with a semi-circle of cameras – and with just one instantaneous, simultaneous moment when all shutters were released – produced a sequence showing a single frozen moment in time, unlike the majority of his sequences which recorded a progressive movement.

Sequence from Plate 524

This was a deliberate experiment in multi-position capture of a single moment in time – exactly the same as the TimeSlice and Bullet Time camera technique used in the past two or three decades. This can be seen in the plate shown by Kokaram, Plate 524 from Animal Locomotion (Throwing water from a bucket, Descending a step, Ascending a step, and Playing lawn tennis) and other plates, including 527 (Spanking a child, from three positions), 528 (Carrying a child, Walking with a child in hand, Running with a child in hand), and Plate 522 (Jumping, Handspring, Somersault, Springing over a man’s back). Each of these uses five or six cameras set in a semi-circle and fired simultaneously. As my previous post explains, Tim Macmillan, originator of TimeSlice (predecessor to Bullet Time) was unaware that Muybridge had taken such simultaneous views.

Sequence from Plate 528

It would be interesting to see these specific Muybridge sequences given the ingenious treatment developed by Professor Kokaram and his colleagues – which would enable us to see Muybridge’s original experiments with “Bullet Time” improved by creating interpolated inbetweens, to give a smooth sequence, rather than the jerky result created by the limitations of using only five or six cameras.

Two sequences from Plate 522


Anil Kokaram won an Academy Award in 2007 for his development of visual effects software for the film industry.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

New Muybridge Gadgets


Steam Powered Improved Zoetrope


Two new Muybridge-related products have recently appeared: “L’Affirmatrope” and the “Muybridgizer”.


The Steam Powered Improved Zoetrope or “L’ Affirmatrope” is created and built by my old friend Professor George Hall, the Wizard of Zoe, who also happens to be the eBay seller.

“The improvement to the classical Zoetrope which was invented in 1834, is that the slots on the drum are made full length by slats attached to a 13 faceted floor, rather than the usual construction of half-length slots that are cut into a round drum. This design allows the entire set of images on the floor to be seen when no strip is inside.

The reason I have named this invention “L’ Affirmatrope” is because messages of Affirmations on the floors can move freely from the moving images to the sub-conscious mind of the viewer. You can also view Crop Circles through the Fibonacci Frequency of 13 or watch Mandalas come to life.

Or…. you can just enjoy the machine as a Zoetrope with the historic strips and floors provided and not worry about all that New Age stuff. The steam engine is a used Wilesco D6 that comes with the original box….


Top three strips are from Muybridge sequences


There are reproductions of 8 historic strips and 4 photographic strips, three of which are based on the work of Eadweard Muybridge. There are also 6 double sided historic floors and 8 more of Crop Circles, Affirmations and Magnetic Mandalas I have created. I am even including a copy of my 44 page “Zoetrope Renaissance” booklet that tell all about the history of the Zoetrope.”


George Hall's 'floor discs' for the Steam Zoetrope


No one in the world knows more about how Zoetropes work and the intricacies of their animated designs, than the ‘Professor’.

The Muybridgizer

“The Muybridgizer allows iPhone photographers to take pictures inspired by the iconic works of early photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

The release of the app celebrates the opening of a major exhibition of Muybridge s work at Tate Britain (8 September 2010 16 January 2011). The Muybridgizer freeze-frames the moving world, just as Muybridge did with subjects ranging from running horses to leapfrogging boys.

In homage to the analogue Victorian beauty of the originals, users can Muybridge-ize their frames with grids and sepia tones, transforming their moving images into striking vintage-style pictures. The application is offered free for a limited period.”

Some comments online:

“It seems to just rapidly take a series of pictures, but it’s a pretty well done app all the same. I like the effect – nice and retro. and within the app – you can swipe to animate both forwards and backwards.”

“It’s a good app. Pretty well done by the Tate. Maximum resolution is 1080x810px, which is more than suitable for sharing online on your blog, Facebook or Flickr. It’s as good as several commercial apps that do less and cost a buck or two. A good download for free.”

There’s a growing batch of examples on The Muybridgizer group on Flickr:

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Move! at NK Gallery, Boston

September 2010

NKG presents MOVE! an exhibition that relates to movement through space and time. Jeffrey P. Heyne and Rufus Butler Seder, two artists that live and work in New England both use photography as a starting point and challenge the temporal quality of movement. This exhibition will open September 1, 2010 and run through September 26, with opening reception Friday, September 10, 5 – 8 PM

(Images from left going clockwise: Rufus Butler Seder “Figure Descending a Staircase”, Lifetiles, 4’w x 6’h, 2009; Jeffrey Heyne “Muybridge Boxers No. 10+1”, 2009 & “Muybridge Boxers No. 9+7”, 2010, both digital print and polyester resin on Dibond panels)
by Kathy A. Halamka

“We just opened (September 1) a visually energetic exhibition called “Move!” at NK Gallery. The artists featured are Jeffrey Heyne and Rufus Butler Seder. Their images pay homage and play with, in different ways, to Eadweard Muybridge’s  photographic movement studies. Jeffrey Heyne was inspired by flip books of Muybridge’s images, and his manipulations bring the frozen images back to movement, then freezes them again in a visually seductive resin surface. Rufus Butler Seder has developed a lenticular  form of glass tile he calls Lifetiles, and at his studio creates all the many stages to build both small and very large murals of moving images – one of the ones at NK Gallery evokes the Muybridge Galloping Horse.”

NK Gallery LLC (NKG) was established in 2010 by Natacha Sochat and Kathy Halamka. Our artists represent a broad and vibrant contemporary spectrum of ideas, approaches, and materials.



“My current series of works are reinterpretations of Eadweard Muybridge’s stop-motion photos from the 1880’s. It is from toy flip-books of the photos comprising his seminal publication, Animal Locomotion, which my work borrows from.

I am interested in the idea of playing with his iconic images– to make his frozen photos “move” again. Muybridge’s high shutter speeds broke down movement into distinct visual images, separated by equal intervals of time that could be analyzed frame by frame, and to observe a cause and effect sequence for scientific study. From a physical point of view, each of the still images is actually a record of a period of time of about 1/2000 of a second, a short time but still a duration of time. From a phenomenological point of view though, can this freeze-frame image, in a sense, be re-activated to release the latent motion it originally recorded?

With Photoshop, I alter Muybridge’s image by distorting, blurring, warping, stretching, or twisting to imply a sense of motion. I would like to elicit a metaphorical sense of allowing time to re-flow. Like pressing <PLAY> after the <PAUSE> button has been on for the past 125 years.

But how is this new motion read in today’s time? What visual consequences present themselves by re-animating the flow of time? I feel a new narrative is posed by the isolation of a single Muybridge image from the context of its original sequence. My selection of alternate colors further jars the meaning. Effects of blurring and distortion torque the space. Multiple and mirror images lend tension or evoke other pattern-based associations.

With the application of a thick top coat of glossy resin, the picture plane of the photo image is visually slippery, and appears to float somewhere within the thickness. I think of my Muybridge images as cast in another type of frozen state, much like an ancient biological specimen locked away within a piece of crystalline amber.”

“Years ago, as a filmmaker, a fascination with antique motion picture toys led me to wonder if I could create movies on a grand scale using no electricity, moving parts or special lighting.

After some experiment I developed an 8” square, three-pound, lens-ribbed glass tile, which I called a LIFETILE. By combining many LIFETILES, I found I was able to create large-scale “Movies for the Wall”: optical wall pieces that appear to come to life, move and change when the observer walks by.

Since 1990 I have created large-scale LIFETILES murals for the Smithsonian Institute, AMTRAK, the BART subway system in San Francisco, science museums, aquariums, zoos and dozens of other public places around the world. While I continue to accept commissions, I now also create smaller, limited-edition LIFETILES compositions for galleries and private collectors.

The success of LIFETILES inspired me to develop my own patented line of smaller-optically animated items: CineSpinner™ Suncatchers with images that spring to life in a window when they rotate at the end of their string and Smart Move™ greeting cards with pictures than move realistically when they are opened. I also continue to expand a line of bestselling childrens’ Scanimation® books for Workman Publishing.

When I design any one of my works in these mediums I have invented, large or small, my goal is always the same. I am going for that signature motion that instantly defines the subject to the observer. I want to make you feel the weightless thrill of a dancer’s leap or the elastic coil and spring of a running cat. When I succeed, I feel as though I’ve created a little bit of life itself.”

New toy from Rufus here:

Posted here by Stephen Herbert, website The Compleat Muybridge

For Your Diary September-October 2010

from a lantern slide, Kingston Museum

Lots happening Muybridge-wise in the UK over the next few months. Here are some of the events taking place during September and October. More details as they emerge.

Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain
8 Sept – 16 Jan
Tate Britain, Millbank
First major UK retrospective of Muybridge’s entire career.
Tickets £10/£8.50 from htpp://

Muybridge in Kingston Launch Day
Sat 18 Sept 12.30-7pm
Kingston Museum & Stanley Picker Gallery
Public launch of the Muybridge in Kingston exhibitions with special events for all the family, including a magic lantern show from Professor Heard, shadow puppetry from Zannie Fraser and an evening launch lecture on Muybridge’s links to the history of the moving and projected image by Muybridge expert Stephen Herbert.
All welcome – no booking required.

Park Nights at Serpentine Gallery Pavilion
Becky Beasley & Chris Sharp
Fri 24 Sept 8pm
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens
13 pieces, 17 feet is a monologue in thirteen parts that finds its point of departure in Muybridge’s extraordinary 1878 San Francisco panorama.
Tickets £5/£4 from

Late at Tate: Eadweard Muybridge
Fri 1 Oct 6pm-10pm
Tate Britain, Millbank
An evening of Muybridge-inspired events.
Visit htpp:// for further details.

In Conversation: Trevor Appleson
Wed 6 October 7pm
Stanley Picker Gallery
Exploring Muybridge’s influence on contemporary arts practitioners.
Limited seating – to reserve a FREE place please call 020 8417 4074

Muybridge & Moving Image History
Thurs 14 Oct, 28 Oct & 11 Nov 7pm
Kingston Museum
Evening lecture series offering unique insights into the relationship between Muybridge’s work and the history of visuality, film and animation.
Limited seating – to reserve a FREE place please call 020 8547 6460

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Contest Winners Announced!

NPR-Corcoran Muybridge Contest: And The Winners Are …
by Heather Murphy

“Following an NPR story on the first-ever retrospective of Eadweard Muybridge’s work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, NPR invited the public to submit Muybridge-inspired creations. We left the guidelines  open, asking only that the pieces somehow carry the father of motion pictures into 2010.  We received hundreds of submissions — animations, paintings, sculptures, still photographs, dancing bananas  and murder mysteries.

After review by our panel of judges — Corcoran senior curator Philip Brookman, film director Mark Neale (who created U2’s Muybridge-inspired “Lemon” video), NPR multimedia editor Heather Murphy, NPR Picture Show blogger Claire O’Neill and NPR designer Callie Neylan — we have our favorites.

Overall Contest Winners:

The top three winners all take Muybridge’s iconic galloping horse in new and interesting directions.

Unsupported Transit aka Ghost Horse by Michael Brown

This sculpture sits in the lobby of an apartment building in San Francisco. Brown created it using small mirrors with reverse cutouts of Muybridge’s iconic galloping horse. Light-emitting diodes aimed at each mirror are quickly flashed, reflecting the image of the horse onto the frosted glass face of a bell jar and thereby reanimating the horse.

Frenetic Kinetics! by Tim Fort

Fort, who calls himself the “Kinetic King,” takes the domino-effect to a new level, incorporating thousands of Popsicle sticks, piles of plastic cups, blocks swimming flippers and more in a chain reaction that goes on for nearly five minutes. At one point a string is pulled releasing a cardboard flipbook of Muybridge’s galloping horse. Want to see more? He’ll be performing his Muybridgeoscopes live at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on July 10th. (The judges did not know this when his video was selected).

Muybridge First Movie by Veronica Melendez

This stop-action animation piece, created by a Corcoran student just for the contest, offers a sweet take on Muybridge’s legendary study of horses. Melendez created the horse out of duct tape and the little Muybridge figure out of Play-Doh.

Most Unusual Design:

Muybridge Chess Board by Kreg Jones

Using 3-D modeling, a teacher at the Art Institute of Philadelphia created a Muybridge-inspired chess board just for the contest, angling the pieces in the direction they’d move during the game. Jones says he’s now considering turning the model into a real chess board.’

More here:

Congratulations from Muy Blog to all the NPR-Corcoran Contest winners. Photographs were also eligible – more about these in a future post.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert