From Kingston boy to Google Doodle

google-doodle-090412

Thursday, 8 May (this week) at 6pm I shall be giving  talk at Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2PS.

‘How did the young bookseller Ted Muggeridge from Kingston become renowned photographer Eadweard Muybridge of San Francisco, and how did Kingston Museum become the home of arguably the world’s most important Muybridge collection?’

and…

‘How is Muybridge’s work relevant to artists and the media of today?’

Find out on Thursday.

 

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

 

 

Rumpus in Kingston

Nude beginnings: Riverside Kingston development to pay tribute to Kingston photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge

5:00am Friday 24th January 2014 in News By Ross Logan, Chief Reporter [YourLocalGuardian.co.uk]

Images taken by Eadweard Muybridge could soon be a familiar site along Kingston riverside.

riverside

The Riverside Kingston development this week. Muybridge’s images will be seen on the large white panel to the right of the picture

Artistic images of women posing nude for legendary photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge could soon become a familiar sight along Kingston’s riverside.

The company behind the new Riverside Kingston restaurant development, next to Kingston Bridge, has announced bold plans to commemorate one of the town’s most famous sons by emblazoning its building with stills from his Human Figures in Motion project, carried out in the mid 1880s.

The oversized black and white photographs would greet visitors coming into town from Richmond over Kingston Bridge, as well as those travelling along the Thames.

phonehttp://www.kingstontour.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/photographs/phone-boxes.html

Developers Canadian and Portland Estates hope that in time, the projection will become as recognisable a landmark as David Mach’s Out Of Order phone box sculpture in Old London Road.

Kingston-born Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in photography

Greg Miles, head of promotions and animation at Canadian and Portland Estates, said: “Eadweard Muybridge was born and died in Kingston and became a pioneer of photography and the moving image.

“His work is internationally recognised and contributed hugely towards the development of film, which has a vast influence over our lives.

“Kingston owns one of the world’s largest collections of Muybridge’s images and we believe this is something Kingston should celebrate and we wanted to honour the beauty and importance of his work on our building.”

Phase one of Riverside Kingston is due to open in April, bringing five popular restaurant chains to the town for the first time – Cote, Busaba Eathai, CAU, Comptoir Libanais and Bill’s.

Muybridge is credited with revolutionising still photography through his famous motion sequence technique, which paved the way for motion pictures.

Despite the cultural nod to Kingston’s heritage, Kingston Society chairman Jennifer Butterworth was not impressed by the proposal to beam his work across the Thames.

She said: “What is being proposed will only make bad worse.

“It doesn’t matter if the ladies are nude or not.

“We objected to the Riverside sign [on top of the building] and we object to anything more making this site look like a cinema show.”

[end of article]

** So, several years after a major retrospective of Muybridge’s images graced the walls of the Tate Britain art gallery, his photographs are still objected to on the grounds that they represent a “cinema show”. Not only are we still fighting the prejudices against film as art, we’re back to the 1970s struggle to have photography recognized as art. It might not be appropriate to have these pictures on the site suggested, but the objectors will need to come up with some better reasons for rejecting the internationally renowned work of Kingston’s famous son.

Stephen Herbert

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/10959924.Nude_beginnings__Riverside_Kingston_development_to_pay_tribute_to_Kingston_
photography_pioneer_Eadweard_Muybridge/

A Greek Tragedy

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Artist Efrat Eyal recently exhibited a work called “A Greek Tragedy” – ceramics objects bearing Muybridge images.

A Greek Tragedy

A series from The ArtWife Project

A series of ware rich in form and decoration offers a complex dialogue between cultures and social stances. The ware, similar in shape and color to classical Greek ceramics, is composed of numerous and diverse parts slip cast in molds of everyday items taken from the artist’s domestic space. They represent a kind of private dictionary of form, from which the building blocks are taken to create ware according to traditional schemes.  Eyal shifts between perfection and classical symmetry, and between the personal touch and contemporary statement.

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

The compositions that follow the form of the ware and its flowing patterns are reminiscent of classical decoration. The artist embeds images related to domestic tasks, and alongside them prints based on a photographic sequence of naked women cleaning, ironing and more, which were photographed by Eadweard Muybridge in a study of movement. In this way Eyal incorporates into the ware  –  which reflects beauty and elegance – a critical standpoint that relates to social conventions and also examines the permanent tension between art and the home and family that women-artists experience.

(Text from the catalogue of The Seventh Biennle for Israeli Ceramics
Imprinting on Clay – Cultural Memory in Contemporary Ceramic Art)

Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv)

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

 

Wit thanks to Efrat Eyal and Leonid Padrul. Text and Photos Copyright.

Glasgow School of Art Library Treasures

Glasgow School of Art Library

Glasgow School of Art Library

It’s interesting to note – from the Glasgow School of Art Library website – that the Library purchased their Animal Locomotion plates as late as 1917:

The Library is lucky to hold a number of original 1887 plates from Eadweard Muybridge’s seminal photographic study Animal Locomotion. In total we hold a representative selection of 63 plates from Muybridge’s total set of 781, which were purchased for the use of our students in June 1917. GSA Governors’ Minutes of 13th June note that ”price not obtained from America yet” and “subject to approval of Convenor”.

Muybridge lectured in Glasgow in 1890:

February 26 (and possibly 27th) Lecture, Queen’s Rooms Glasgow ‘under the auspices of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow’.
March 6 lecture, Glasgow (further details not established).

http://gsalibrarytreasures.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/muybridges-animal-locomotion/

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

9 rue Cadet, Paris

October, 2013. Paris is a black-and-white film. All of the cars, all of the motorbikes and scooters, are black, grey, or white. The people wear black, grey, or white.

The traffic no longer keeps up the continuous klaxon blaring that I remember so well (has there been a change in the law?) I am reminded of Maxim Gorky’s response to the first Lumière films, famously shown in this city in 1895:

“Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows. If you only knew how strange it is to be there. It is a world without sound, without colour. Every thing there—the earth, the trees, the people, the water and the air—is dipped in monotonous grey. Grey rays of the sun across the grey sky, grey eyes in grey faces … shadows of a bad engraving.”

Only the vibrant fruit and vegetables outside the shops give the city any colour, which has otherwise leached out of the streets.

I’m staying for several weeks in a studio flat on rue Lafayette, and one day I decide to walk two Metro stops to Cadet. Some years earlier, I had come across a tenuous but possible reference to a link with Eadweard Muybridge, and an address in rue Cadet. It’s a busy, interesting street, alive with lunchtime diners outside cafes, local traders, busy, busy….

Will number 9 still be the pre-1860s building? I have no idea what to expect. Suddenly there it is. If I had been sent to Paris for film location research, to find the spot to represent the 1860s Muybridge connection, here it is, and without much need of a period makeover. In the center of the wide building that is no. 9 there’s an archway, with big open wooden doors.

This 18th-century building is where Chopin gave his first recital in Paris, and was once the home of the gardener of Louis XV. Over the archway is an old sign: PHOTO INDUSTRIELLE. As I walk through the arch the decades peel away in union with the peeling paint on the walls, the scene becomes an Atget photograph of the grimy Paris that in recent times has largely disappeared.

Opposite the arch is a peak-roofed glass-sided greenhouse – or perhaps once a glasshouse studio?

Individual artisan workshops, mostly now storerooms, form the perimeter of the cobbled yard, one side of which is set up as an experimental urban garden. Local workers sit on benches beside the period streetlamps, reading Le Monde to while away their lunch break hour.

Here is the story, as it originally appeared on this blog in 2010.

===================

In search of ‘Helios’

Onward away ! away his steeds,
Mad with the momentary pause,
Plunge through the scattered clouds !

Helios !

Richard Henry Horne
Prometheus the Fire-bringer (1864)

A few years ago, I noticed that the online catalog of the George Eastman House included an early address for Muybridge – in Paris. Could he really have been located in France in 1864?

Late Summer 1861 he wrote to his uncle that he was leaving for the continent “on business that may detain me some months.” On 3 December 1862 the Daily Alta California reported: ‘A letter from Paris of Oct. 24th says: There has been a great influx of Californians within the past few weeks. […] E.J. Muygridge was here a few days since, but has returned to London…’

I contacted George Eastman House.

Hello, I note that one of the addresses on your Bibliog file (online) for Eadweard Muybridge is:

ADDRESS:
France, Paris — 9 rue Cadet (1864)

This was the address of photographer M. Berthaud. I believe that Muybridge may indeed have been in Paris at this time, but there are no details in any of the biographical works that I have been able to find. Would it be possible to find out where this address came from? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you, Stephen Herbert (Muybridge Consultant, Kingston Museum).

I received the following response:

Dear Mr. Herbert,
Yes, that does seem questionable. I do not have a way of supporting this Paris address and am inclined to delete it from our (new) database (not yet available to offsite research). As a compromise, I have moved it into 2nd place from 1st place in the record. Sorry to be so slow in responding and so unhelpful as well.

Joe R. Struble
Assistant Archivist

So that, I thought, was that. No way to check.

And then days ago, a private collector – finding the “Rue Cadet” address on my website during an internet search –  sent me this.

berne1
On the back of which, is this:

berne2

Yes, the trade name of  Mons. Berne-Bellecour in association with M. Berthaud was – ‘Helios’.

Around 1867, Michel Berthaud became associated with Etienne Berne-Bellecour (active in photography from 1864 to 1870 – was this E. Berne-Bellecour the painter?) who had already established the ‘Helios’ firm – we do not yet know exactly when. By 1867 Muybridge was back in  France, so unless Berne-Bellecour was using the name Helios in 1865-66, or earlier, our Muybridge connection disappears.

(After Bern-Bellecour’s departure in 1870 the firm continued under Berthaud, using the ‘Helios’ name for decades, and with many branches in the 1870s-80s.) [Eves Lebrec]

The possibilities seem almost endless – but here are three:

a) Muybridge worked in France for M. Berne-Bellacour’s company in the 1860s, which used the name Helios as an encompassing title to cover the photographs of more than one partner. This was where Muybridge developed his photographic skills, and accounts for why he isn’t found in the English press (including the photographic periodicals) at that time, and doesn’t seem to have been a member of any British photographic society. Somewhere there is evidence of this French connection, used by the GEH cataloguer.

b) Muybridge, who certainly visited Paris in the 1860s, noted the name Helios at M. Berne-Bellecour’s establishment, and adopted it for the same reason – a trade name would cover the published photographs of more than one photographer – which would tie in with Weston Naef’s suggestion.

c) Complete coincidence.

If (b) or (c), the GEH cataloguer must have noted the address on a dated French carte printed with the ‘Helios’ design, and aware that this was Muybridge’s trade name, made a leap of faith and assumed that he was working from that address at that time.

For a few moments I hoped that I would find an early use of Muybridge’s scratched ‘Helios’ with an acute accent (Hélios), a tiny Roland Barthes ‘punctum’ that would instantly prove a French connection, but as I peered fruitlessly at the various relevant photographs that hope gradually dissolved.

All of the above is circumstantial evidence at best, and proves nothing. But it certainly indicates that there are places to look in an attempt to find out what Muybridge was doing in Europe – including a possibility that he was already deeply involved in photography – in the ‘lost years’ of 1861-66. And if indeed he was involved in a photographic studio then a letter, or dusty ledger, or account book, or agreement  … some scrap that’s survived the century and a half between then and now, is out there waiting to be discovered, somewhere. Somewhere…. [end of blog post]

=================

And there has been a photographic connection that continues – one of several photographic companies that was set up here in 1861 survived until 1995. There is still a photographic laboratory on one of the floors of the current occupier, the Département Histoire de l’Architecture et Archéologie de Paris & secrétariat de la Commission du Vieux.

But it’s all too easy to be seduced into weaving this location into Muybridge’s life. In reality, any connection is most likely a fantasy, based on one simple error – the assumption that the trade name ‘Helios’ on the back of a carte-de-visite indicated an association with Muybridge. Just a fantasy. But I’m glad I came here to no. 9 rue Cadet, Paris. I’m very glad I came. I sit on a bench and eat my cheese baguette.

https://ejmuybridge.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/in-search-of-helios/

Early Popular Visual Culture

repv20.v011.i01.cover-1

I’m a little late in posting details of a Special Muybridge issue of the Routledge academic journal Early Popular Visual Culture, for which I was pleased to be guest editor. The contents, in no particular order, are as follows:

Early Popular Visual Culture
Volume 11, Issue 1, 2013

Eadweard Muybridge issue : Introduction
Stephen Herbert

A ‘roundup’ of Muybridge-related activity, 2010-2012.

Reflections on time, motion and photomechanics
Jonathan Shaw

This article is a reflection on my own practice and its connection to changing representations of time and movement within photography. In my work as an artist and photographer, I have endeavoured to develop a particular perspective on the relation between the heritage of photomechanical tools, new technologies, memory and space. In what follows, I describe a series of pivotal moments in the formation of this perspective as they exemplify a specific strand of photography, showing how they connect to wider transformations in the field of visual cultures.

Loops and joins: Muybridge and the optics of animation
Esther Leslie

Film is rightly understood to be an art of movement, but stasis plays a role too, from the first films which cranked into seeming life out of stillness to the mechanisms of contemporary animation, which is pervasive in cinema today. This article explores the relationship of stillness and movement in early cinema and pre-cinematic optical technologies, which demand a flick of the wrist to produce movement out of stasis. Muybridge’s sequential photographs found their way into some of these early and later technologies and provided the basis for such demonstration of the emergence of movement out of stillness. If mobility and stillness are concentrated oppositions in Muybridge’s work, so too are the related themes of animation and inanimateness, a partnering that relates less to the analytical dissection of life and more to the evocation of a spirited magic.

Muybridge, authorship, originality
Marta Braun

This article addresses questions concerning photographic authorship and originality, and how these issues relate to the work of Eadweard Muybridge. The subject of legitimacy concerning the scientific nature of many of Muybridge’s photographs is reviewed, considering his retouching, cropping, and rearrangement of images. The role of the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘Muybridge Committee’ is also discussed.

Eadweard Muybridge: Inverted modernism and the stereoscopic vision
Marek Pytel

Eadweard Muybridge’s stereoscopic photographs, published in large numbers before his famous motion sequence series were taken, have had much less exposure, and have been subject to far less research, than his chronophotographic images. This short study of just one of the more enigmatic examples of his stereographs considers some relevant aspects of visual perception, and the circular image, proposing connections between these aspects of Muybridge’s work and the Rotoreliefs of Marcel Duchamp.

Chronophotography in the context of moving pictures
Deac Rossell

This article, originally a talk given at Kingston Museum in 2010, considers the ‘four great chronophotographers’ – Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey, Georges Demenÿ, and Ottomar Anschütz, and their reputations as ‘inventors of cinema’ – in the context of achievements by lesser known workers including Victor von Reitzner, George William de Bedts, Ernst Kohlrausch, Robert Dempsey Gray, and William Gilman Thompson, many of whom saw a different methodology for making series photographs turn into moving pictures, for different purposes. The article suggests ways in which the story of chronophotography in the context of moving pictures is currently incomplete.

Plus related book reviews.

muybridge6

The Eadweard Muybridge Experiment, 2012

EadweardMuybridgeExperiment

http://vimeo.com/51045208

The Eadweard Muybridge Experiment
from brian d. katz
4th Place Winner!
for Mofilm London contest, client HTC.
Cast: The Stouts: Samuel, Abigail, Darren, and Gretchen
Crew: Katz, Ian Campbell (DP), Alex Watson, Sebastian Heinrich, Azrael Ricky Daniels

Posted here by Stephen Herbert