Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881) at Stanford Digital Repository


Recently added to the digital repository of Stanford University, is the rare album The Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881).

If you don’t have the 2010 Taschen book that includes a version of this album, now’s your opportunity to see all of this hugely important work online. It comprises photographic sequences arranged from the results of Muybridge’s two working seasons at Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto farm.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge / Watkins / Naef

This is from a recent blog:

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
[October 31, 2011, 5:41 pm]
Muybridge’s Watkinses? NYPL lecture

Last June, MAN broke the news that Weston Naef, the leading Carleton Watkins scholar, believed that many works attributed to Eadweard Muybridge were in fact Watkins pictures.

Naef’s revelation prompted much debate and discussion. Philip Brookman, the curator of the first-ever Muybridge retrospective that started the debate, thought that Naef was likely on to something. However, Muybridge biographer Rebecca Solnit attacked Naef (and MAN) in The Guardian, accusing him of starting a “campaign of innuendo.”

On the occasion of the publication of his book of Watkins’ mammoth plate pictures, Naef will continue the conversation about the Watkins-Muybridge relationship in a lecture at the New York Public Library (which has significant collections of both Watkins and Muybridge). The lecture, titled “The Counterfactual Thesis: Eadweard Muybridge’s Debt to Carleton Watkins,” will take place in the NYPL’s Berger Forum, Room 227 at 6pm.

Rather than “The Counterfactual Thesis: Eadweard Muybridge’s Debt to Carleton Watkins,” the website of the New York Public Library announces the lecture under an abbreviated title:

Counterfactual: Muybridge’s Debt to Watkins
Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 6 – 8 p.m.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

Weston Naef will speak on the visual dialogue between Carleton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge, with reference to his forthcoming book, Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs. The talk will present Watkins (a significant range of whose work is held by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs) as the most dominant force in California photography between 1860 and 1890, and analyze Watkins’ influence on Muybridge, who is considered to be the father of moving pictures.

Tyler Green’s title “Muybridge’s Watkinses?” perhaps implies that some photographs attributed to Muybridge are in fact by Watkins, and the text of his blog piece certainly states that Weston Naef has been saying this, and indeed Weston Naef has made such statements, privately and publicly.

We could analyse this further. My admittedly limited grasp of English grammar suggests to me that “Muybridge’s Watkinses?” (possessive, followed by plural noun) – implies that Muybridge acquired objects created by Watkins. Had the blog title been “Muybridge’s / Watkins’s?” (possessive, followed by possessive), it could be seen as asking the question; ‘Are these by Muybridge or by Watkins?’ – which is perhaps what Tyler Green meant?

Now, it’s one thing to create an argument about the influence of Watkins on Muybridge, and quite another to suggest that photographs attributed to Muybridge are in fact by Watkins. As a grammatical term, counterfactual arguably suggests a causal effect (Muybridge’s photos wouldn’t have existed, or would have been different, had it not been for Watkins’ precedents); which is a very different thing to stating that some photographs attributed to Muybridge are in fact by Watkins.  Or does the counterfactual thesis claim that attribution to Muybridge of certain photographs is against the facts (or evidence)? I can’t help thinking that this insertion of ‘counterfactual’ in the talk’s title is provocative, and simply obfuscates what is really a simple question.

So what we would like to know is: Does Weston Naef, in his lecture, stick to his statements concerning attribution – that many photographs attributed to Muybridge were taken by Watkins – and give details, or is he simply making a case for Muybridge having been influenced by Watkins? Or, since Weston Naef’s new book (to be published 15 November) has only three references to Muybridge listed in the Index, is this lecture simply a puff for the book, but using Muybridge’s name to draw an audience, who probably wouldn’t have heard of Carleton Watkins? Perhaps someone who attends the lecture could let us know! And I’d be pleased to receive your views on whether I’m misinterpreting the term counterfactual. For the record, I do think there are many questions to be answered about the attribution of certain ‘Muybridge’ photographs, and I hope that continuing research will discover how much can be definitely established.

Possibly I’m being unreasonably cynical here; the main subject of the new book is the Mammoth photographs, so perhaps Weston Naef’s assertions that ‘Muybridge’ photographs in other formats are in fact by Watkins will be dealt with in other lectures, or in future publications. And a Note to the Reader states that ‘Reference to Houseworth & Co prints and Muybridge prints that relate to Watkins is made here’ – which will be very useful. I understand that details of some photographs in smaller than mammoth formats, and details of some stereographs, are also included in the book.

Muybridge aside, this volume is a great achievement for all concerned, revealing these wonderful photographs of Carleton Watkins and promising to be a superb new reference resource for historians of photography.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

The Tycoon and the Inventor

A couple of years ago I spent a pleasant lunch chatting with author Edward Ball about Eadweard Muybridge, who was to be the subject of his next book. A while back I heard that it was to be published by Random House, and the title The Octopus and the Inventor: Eadweard Muybridge, the Killer Who Created the Movies cropped up (the ‘octopus’ being Leland Stanford) but then things went quiet. I notice that Doubleday have now listed the book as forthcoming, with the title The Tycoon and the Inventor.

This from Amazon:

From the National Book Award-winning author of Slaves in the Family, a riveting true life/true crime narrative of the partnership between the murderer who invented the movies and the robber baron who built the railroads.

One hundred and thirty years ago Eadweard Muybridge invented stop-motion photography, anticipating and making possible motion pictures. He was the first to capture time and play it back for an audience, giving birth to visual media and screen entertainments of all kinds. Yet the artist and inventor Muybridge was also a murderer who killed coolly and meticulously, and his trial is one of the early instances of a media sensation. His patron was railroad tycoon (and former California governor) Leland Stanford, whose particular obsession was whether four hooves of a running horse ever left the ground at once. Stanford hired Muybridge and his camera to answer that question. And between them, the murderer and the railroad mogul launched the age of visual media.

Set in California during its frontier decades, The Tycoon and the Inventor interweaves Muybridge’s quest to unlock the secrets of motion through photography, an obsessive murder plot, and the peculiar partnership of an eccentric inventor and a driven entrepreneur. A tale from the great American West, this popular history unspools a story of passion, wealth, and sinister ingenuity.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Books (24 April 2012)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0385525753
ISBN-13: 978-0385525756

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Taschen book – a handsome addition to the Muybridge bibliography

It’s some weeks now since the new Taschen book popped through my letter box. Or rather, was heaved up to my front door by a gasping delivery man. At 804 large-format pages, it’s some tome. I’ve now had a chance to look through it, and Eadweard Muybridge – The Human and Animal Locomotion Photographs certainly lives up to expectations. Hans-Christian Adam’s introductory essay, a comprehensive and contextual overview of Muybridge’s life and work is in English, German and French, with alternative illustrations for each, allowing glimpses of the unique cyanotypes, large format landscapes, and stereoviews that are not part of Muybridge’s motion sequence work.

Next comes what, for me, is the most useful part of the book – the entire 200-plus plates from the rare album The Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881). Some are shown somewhat reduced, four to a page; others are enlarged, one to a page. This arrangement has meant that some juggling has been necessary, so the plates are not is strict order – but a plate that’s out of sequence is only a page-turn away. The large reproductions of the skeleton horse are especially stunning. Muybridge’s 1879-80 Palo Alto work has never before been republished, and with less than 20 original albums in existence, has always been rather difficult to get to see. All of the images are on the web, but not in a way that is easy to access, so this section of the book alone is worth the price.

The following section comprises the complete 1887 Animal Locomotion, all 781 plates. Some have a page to themselves, others are arranged with either two or four plates to the page, and there are some extra whole-page close-up views showing parts of sequences. It’s more than 30 years since Dover published all of the University of Pennsylvania work in three large volumes, so this new publication by Taschen, despite the reduced size of some plates, is very welcome. Finally an edited version of my Chronology (also in English, German and French), a select Bibliography, and an Index of Plates complete the volume.

Beautifully printed – and the publication of this magnificent and very affordable book means that a quality trove of Muybridge’s motion photography will be accessible to all who have an interest in the subject.

Taschen Fall/Winter 2010 catalogue pages

The published title was different from that shown on Amazon. (Two or more names for one Muybridge book isn’t unusual – which is kind of fitting.)

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

New book from Taschen!

Well I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s in print. With all of the Animal Locomotion plates, and the complete (previously unpublished) Attitudes of Animals in Motion album, its evidently a substantial tome!

Eadweard Muybridge, The Human and Animal Locomotion Photographs.
Eadweard Muybridge, Hans Christian Adam
Hardcover, 33.2 x 24.3 cm (13.1 x 9.6 in.), 804 pages
(44.99 Pounds)
ISBN: 978-3-8365-0941-1

Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Details from

Life in motion – The forerunner of the moving image

This resplendent book traces the life and work of Muybridge, from his early thinking about anatomy and movement to his latest photographic experiments. The complete 781 plates of Muybridge’s groundbreaking Animal Locomotion (1887) are reproduced here. In addition, Muybridge’s handmade and extremely rare first illustrated album, The Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881) is reproduced in its entirety. A detailed chronology by British researcher Stephen Herbert throws new light on one of the most important pioneers of photography.

Hans Christian Adam  studied psychology, art history and communication in Vienna. As a specialist in historical images, he has published numerous articles and books, including titles on travel and war photography. He is the author of TASCHEN’s Edward Sheriff Curtis: The North American Indian, Karl Blossfeldt, Eugene Atget: Paris and Berlin, Portrait of a City.

This posting by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge in my own back yard

Muybridge. A Sketch from Life

Drawing of Muybridge c.1890 by Hastings resident Harry Furniss, published in 1914. Furniss was also a lantern lecturer of note, who toured the country with his shows featuring political cartoons.

About once a week I cycle past Warrior Gardens, Warrior Square St Leonards, next door to my adopted ‘home town’ of Hastings on England’s South Coast. I didn’t know until recently that some of the flower beds were once the location of the Royal Concert Hall, dating from the 1870s. And this week, I discovered that Muybridge lectured there in 1890.

I had always thought it odd that he listed no south-east coastal towns in his promotional brochures – perhaps they weren’t too successful, and he didn’t have any really positive newspaper reports to quote for his advertisements. Some years ago I spent several days trawling provincial papers at Colindale (BL Newspaper Library), mostly following up clues from his own writings about where he’d lectured, and I found reports on most of the shows that I was looking for – though it was hard work for few returns – maybe a couple of lecture dates and a report or two for an afternoon’s work and five hours’ travel, if I was very lucky. I never did get to look at the papers for the South Coast.

The results of my searches were incorporated into my essay ‘Projecting the Living Image’, published in Eadweard Muybridge. The Kingston Museum Bequest, in 2004. A few straggling lectures have turned up since through digital searching, but this is the first for a while. It popped up during a random Google trawl for “Muybridge 1895”. I stumbled upon this extraordinary website about Victorian photographers in Sussex – and the advertisement for his lectures.

Reserved Seats, 2s.6d.; Second Seats, 2s.; and Third Seats, 1s. – (etc) Each lecture treats a separate matter, and the two complete the subject…. Children Half-price. First and Second Seats Reserved for Schools at half-price. Hastings and St Leonards News, 9 May 1890.

So, off to Hastings Library to find a report of the talk. I haven’t yet found an account of the evening lecture, but the afternoon show seems to have been a bit of a washout. The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer reported on the 10th: “The lecture, which was illustrated with views from the zoophaxiscope [sic] (which instrument is a wonderful invention of his own) was rather poorly attended, even considering the bad state of the weather.” A brief description of the presentation followed.

So that’s another one (or rather two) to add to the list. Back in America in 1892 he claimed to have just returned from Europe after giving 200 lectures – so there are more to be found.

The Royal Concert Hall eventually became the Elite Cinema, was bombed during WW2, and burned down in 1947 while advertising the film “Fire at Noon” – or so the local story goes. I can’t find any record of a film with that title. I suppose I should check the papers, but I’ve had enough of microfilm newspaper microtype for one week, and I’m following a more interesting story by digital means, the trail of Helios……

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Robert Bartlett Haas dies at 94


Robert Bartlett Haas dies at 94
By Keith Thursby, Los Angeles Times

May 18, 2010,0,235770.story

Robert Bartlett Haas, a longtime UCLA educator who spent years immersed in the writings of Gertrude Stein, has died. He was 94.

Haas died April 20 in a hospital in Nuertingen, Germany, after a brief illness, said his son, Peter. He had spent most of his retirement years in Germany.

Haas was born Jan. 20, 1916, in Santa Cruz. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley in 1938, a master’s in English from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in education from Stanford.

He joined the UCLA faculty in 1949 and was the founding director of the school’s arts and humanities extension division. Peter Haas said the program was envisioned as a way for teachers to broaden their skills with additional courses on a variety of subjects. Haas stayed with the program until his retirement in the late 1970s.

Haas “was one of the young men who sought out Gertrude Stein as a mentor and was rewarded with years of encouragement and friendship and who, in turn, devoted a measure of his academic life to bolstering Stein’s reputation,” Timothy Young, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, told The Times in an e-mail. Young cataloged Stein’s papers at Yale.

“My dad was a very complex guy,” Peter Haas said. “He was kind of a little avant-garde, and Gertrude Stein was certainly an avant-garde poet.” Among his books about Stein was “A Primer for the Gradual Understanding of Gertrude Stein,” published in 1971, in which he is credited as editor.

Our own subject gets just a one-line mention in the Los Angeles Times obituary:

Haas also wrote a 1976 biography of pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge, “Muybridge: Man in Motion,” and edited “William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music,” a 1972 book about an African American composer and conductor.

Hass is also survived by another son, Robin, and longtime partner Ia Wech. His first wife, Louise Krause Haas, died in 1982, and a second marriage ended in divorce.

Robert Haas worked on his Eadweard Muybridge book for more than two decades. “Muybridge: Man in Motion,” and Gordon Hendricks’ biography of Muybridge, are still key references for historians working today.

Robert Bartlett Haas donated his Muybridge-related research papers and notes to Kingston Museum, UK, where they may be accessed by prior arrangement.

Sequences – Paul St George


Sequences: Contemporary Chronophotography and Experimental Digital Art

Edited by Paul St George

From the publisher:

This volume explores the proliferation of contemporary art that uses sequences of images to investigate ideas of space, time, movement and duration. Etienne-Jules Marey, Eadweard Muybridge and other ‘chronophotographers’ first explored these ideas at the turn of the nineteenth century; since then chronophotography has been in the shadow of cinema, but now it’s emerging once again in post-cinema practices, digital art and new experimental photography. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, artists have found that sequences offer new opportunities for exploring continuing issues regarding aesthetics that operate at the intersection of time and space. The book contains a number of illustrated essays by international critics and theorists and discusses the work of a wide range of artists engaged in contemporary chronophotography. The introduction also uses insights from chronophotography to dispel the myth of persistence of vision.

256 pages. ISBN: 978-1-905674-76-3 (pbk). Includes colour illustrations of contemporary artworks.

The author / editor:
Paul St George is a London-based artist and curator and is Principal Lecturer in Computer Animation at London Metropolitan University. He was also the artist behind the Telectroscope, a recent public art project (22 May – 15 June 2008) connecting Brooklyn Bridge, New York and Tower Bridge, London via a special transatlantic tunnel and optical device.

Sequences includes a 28-page chapter by Marta Braun,  Chronophotography: Photographing Movement, which touches on Muybridge’s contribution, with small reproductions of several Muybridge image sequences. A full review of this interesting and attractive book will appear on The Compleat Muybridge website at a later date.

I have to declare an interest in this book, as I was responsible for helping to shape an earlier draft, which later evolved into the version now published by Wallflower.

Now back to The Compleat Muybridge.

The Compleat Eadweard Muybridge

myosemitedomes1New additions to this blog’s companion website The Compleat Muybridge include a section about Muybridge’s photography and the photographic processes that he used, with links to the best web sources for viewing Muybridge’s photographs. The books section has recently been expanded, with around 50 books now listed – and most of the covers are shown. New material is being added every week.