Phillip Prodger

prodger@quahog.org
Time Stands Still

Eadweard Muybridge's sequential images of galloping horses are some of the most famous photographs ever made. They began with a commission in 1872 from Leland Stanford, a railway tycoon and former Governor of California, who hoped to use the information they revealed to train better race horses. The project was later expanded to include photographs of many other animals, including birds, dogs, elephants, and even humans.

The influence of these photographs was enormous. Working on Stanford's farm in Palo Alto, California, Muybridge created the world's first successful instantaneous photographs. His efforts to project and reanimate these images revolutionized photography, helped to bring about the invention of motion pictures, altered scientific thinking, and affected the work of sculptors and painters. Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp and Francis Bacon are just a few of the artists who studied Muybridge's motion photographs.

Muybridge was the first person to make photographs of things happening too fast to be seen with the naked eye, but he was not the first to make pictures of moving things. He was only the most successful of a long line of practitioners who tried to use photography to arrest motion. Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement describes the steady march towards instantaneity in photography, which climaxed with Muybridge's sensational experiments in the 1870s and 80s.

Featuring the Muybridge collections at Stanford University, Time Stands Still is the catalogue for a major exhibition held at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford and the Cleveland Art Museum. Revealed for the first time are early proofs, negatives and slides, related drawings and paintings, a complete set of the pioneering series The Horse in Motion, two sets, one entirely unique, of the exquisite Attitudes of Animals in Motion, pieces of Muybridge's original photographic equipment, a replica of his zoöpraxiscope motion picture projector, a nearly complete set of the celebrated Animal Locomotion collotypes he made at the University of Pennsylvania in 1887, hand-annotated proofs and glass plates, and correspondence and ephemera. With an essay by noted cinema historian Tom Gunning, the book addresses Muybridge's many contributions to visual culture. And of course, no Muybridge book would be complete without a discussion of Muybridge's tumultuous personal life, including his dramatic murder trial, recurring lawsuits, and horrific head injury.

For more information about Time Stands Still, please see my Press page.


Phillip Prodger, Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement, [New York and London: Oxford University Press, 2003], ISBN-13: 978-0195149630