Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change.
Text by Philip Brookman, Marta Braun, Cory Keller, Rebecca Solnit.
Steidl, 2010. 300 pp., 200 tritone illustrations, 11x8".
In 1878, the Photographic Times claimed that ten minutes
provided sufficient exposure for photographing a landscape.
Six years earlier, an English immigrant to theWest Coast
named Eadweard Muybridge, going by the commercial name
of Helios, had already pushed photography far in the opposite
direction: not to soak up time into pictures, but to divide time
with the quickest exposures then imaginable. In 1872, the
tycoon Leland Stanford had commissioned Muybridge to
photograph his horse, Occident, to determine whether it
ever lifted all four hooves off the ground at once. In proving
that this was indeed the case,Muybridge achieved a five-hundredth-
of-a-second exposure, and so began an anatomy of
motion—in humans, horses, birds—that exploded the possibilities
of photography and ultimately led to the development
of the motion picture. Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time
of Change offers an opportunity to trace the life and art of
the great photographer. In the wake of a wave of recent
scholarship and renewed interest, it pitches his entire body of
work against the backdrop of one of the most transformative
periods of American and European history. Published to
accompany a retrospective exhibition organized by the Corcoran
Gallery of Art, Helios features essays by Philip Brookman,
Marta Braun, Corey Keller and Rebecca Solnit that provide a
variety of new approaches to Muybridge’s art and influences.