Googlers today will be greeted with a series of fast galloping horses, and as amazed they would be; they would have English photographer, Eadweard Muybridge to thank. Born on this day, back in 1830, Eadweard Muybridge was born Edward James Muggeridge and during the course of his early career in U.S, he changed his name to first Eduardo Santiago, then to Eadweard and finally to Eadweard Muybridge. An English photographer, Muybridge is remembered to this day for his pioneering work on animal locomotion – a feat he achieved by using multiple cameras to capture motion, and he also used a zoopraxiscope, a device used essentially to depict motion in pictures – a technology that came before flexible perforated film strip.
Watch it gallop in fast motion
It all began in 1872, when a businessman and a race-horse owner, Leland Stanford, who was also the former Governer of California sought the services of Muybridge to prove it scientifically, whether all four of a horse's hoovers are off the ground, simultaneously during the trot. It so was the case that till 1872, most paintings depicting horses fast galloping showed their front legs extended forward and the hind legs extended to the rear. Stanford who agreed to this, wanted to prove it scientifically.
Further in his pursuit of this phenomena, Muybridge used a series of large cameras, which used glass plates lined up. Each of these glass plates were then given the push by a thread as the horse passed. Then, using a clockwork device, the images captured were copied onto a disc as silhouettes and were viewed on the aforementioned Zoopraxiscope. Cinematography and motion picture enthusiasts should note here that this step was one forward in that direction.
It was 1877, when Muybridge brought forth a single photographic negative, wherein Stanford's Standardbred trotting horse Occident was shown as being airborne at the trot, thereby scientifically proving it. Unfortunately, this negative was lost, but through the years, it has survived through the woodcuts that were made at that time. Muybridge, therefore had given to the world a successful attempt at photographing a horse in fast motion.
However, a murder charge put on him in 1874, accusing him of having murdered his wife's lover a Major Harry Larkyns rudely interrupted his horse photography experiment, but Stanford; with whom he continued to share a good rapport paid for his criminal defense. Even after his acquittal, Muybridge continued to create brilliant pieces, which included The phenakistoscope, American bison cantering, among others and his works inspired the works of many others, whom we look up to till this day – Thomas Edison, Harold Eugene Edgerton, William Dickson, among others.
The doodle itself is reminiscent of Muybridge's famous work depicting horses galloping in fast motion, called 'The Horse in Motion'. At the centre of the frames that are a part of Muybridge's original works is a play button, clicking on which the images start moving in a progressive fashion to depict Muybridge's fascinating work created over a century ago.
Eadweard Muybridge died on 8 May 1904 in Kingston upon Thames, living at the home of his cousin Catherine Smith, Park View, 2 Liverpool Road, leaving behind a legacy of brilliance and to date, he is rightfully regarded as the one of Britain's most influential photographers.