Monday, 9 April 2012

Eaudweard Muybridge


Animal Locomotion by Muybridge


In my third year Animation class at McMaster University we looked at the work of Eaudweard Muybridge. Muybridge, a photographer, was hired in 1872 by the governor of California to solve the question: Does a horse lift all 4 legs from the ground at a single point in time? In order to solve this bet Muybridge took a series of photographs. He discovered that the horse does lift all legs off the ground, however the horse pulled all legs in, at the time it was assumed the horse would be extending all limbs. As this was a great discovery, Muybridge continued the study of motion and has since helped many people understand the basics of motion by his frame-by-frame breakdown.  



The Horse in Motion


The McMaster Art Gallery had four Muybridge prints on display:
Volume 3, #92 Ascending Stairs, 1887
Volume 4, #222 Stooping, Lifting A Water Jar To Head And Turning, 1887
Volume 2, #391 Farmer Mowing Grass, 1887
Volume 5, #157 Jumping, Running Twist High Jump, 1887
All copyrighted in 1887 by Eadweard Maybridge. All Rights Reserved. 


We then visited the McMaster vault and to see the rest of the Muybridge collection, which included the unlabelled prints of 352, 388, 742, 611, 448, 435, & 27. The entire collection was both fascinating and educational. Muybridge's work was groundbreaking at the time, and was the only source of movement to be studied. Oddly, his work was considered scientific, not artistic, yet his work is highly regarded by animators for the fast collection of motion studies he has collected. I say his work is fascinating even in this day and age where we don't need stop-motion to create video's, and can record far more frames per second, because his work was the original. It created the standard. I am a firm believer of the basics and own my own Chinese book of menial tasks performed by nude males and females. My book, is likewise black and white photo's of people sitting, climbing ladders, walking, etc but from various angles.  The Chinese motion study book was found in Toronto's China Town, and was not intended for the West, yet the book performed similar studies of Muybridge despite the culture divide. 

Not surprisingly, since the study was performed in the 1800's, the photo content is sexist and racist. In print #222 a white female lifts a water jug to her head, #435 a white female is ironing clothes, and #448, two white females exchange flowers.  The females performed the tasks their bodies would most likely be doing in every-day tasks. The males, in contrast, were also all white and #157, jumping over high bars, #391 mowing grass, #27 carrying stones above his head, #352 carrying a rifle, and #388 farming. As the point of the study was to witness the every day mundane activities it is at once fitting activities but also furthering stereotypes. Do females often exchange flowers to warrant the breakdown of activity, or is that the image one wants to have when thinking of two girls? Could they have just as easily been reading together?

In the instance of the Plate's seen at McMaster Art Gallery there is a motion repeated by both genders, carrying something on the head (which would be rather silly in modern times now), and that is the girl carrying the water jug, and the man carrying the stone. Though the water jug is easily recognizable the stone was not, not even when I asked for the identity of the item from the Museum Informant. I do question if he was carrying a stone because men did at the time, or because it wouldn't have done to see him carrying a water jug. Regardless, it is not easy to compare the motion between these two similar gestures. The female is seen bending and lifting the jug which makes her task appear more difficult, whereas the male is walking casually with his stone.   



 


On the day that I wrote this blog post Muybridge was being honoured by Google. If you clicked play on the Google image the image started to slide horizontally gaining speed until the horse image successfully galloped.



Animated Google Doodle Honors Eadweard J. Muybridge








The following images are posted in an educational context to be studied and shared by University Students. All images are part of the McMaster University Art Gallery, and were shown on campus to McMaster media students to further their education. 






Plate 92 - Nude Female Ascending Stairs

Profile and rear views of nude female ascending stairs. 12 frame 1 1/2 stride climbing 2 steps.


Plate 92 - Nude Female Ascending Stairs
Duration of action: 100/100sec or 60f@60fps


video

Plate 92 - Nude Female Ascending Stairs
Flv is @ 30fps, QuickTime Mov is @ 59.94fps







Plate 157 - Semi Nude Male Underwear Jumping Running Twist High Jump

Profile and front views of semi nude male wearing underwear running, jumping a twist high jump. 12 frame jump.

Plate 157 - Semi Nude Male Underwear Jumping Running Twist High Jump
Duration of action: 152/100sec or 92f@60fps






Plate 222 - Nude Female Stooping Lifting Water Jar Head Turning

Profile and rear views of nude female stooping, lifting a water jar to head then turning. 12 frame single stride, stoop, raise, and turn.

Plate 222 - Nude Female Stooping Lifting Water Jar Head Turning
Duration of action: 273/100sec or 164f@60fps






Plate 391 - Nude Male Farmer Mowing Grass

Front and profile views of nude male farmer mowing grass. 12 frame torso twist.

Plate 391 - Nude Male Farmer Mowing Grass
Duration of action: 150/100sec or 90f@60fps








Plate 27 - Nude Male Looping Walkcycle Carrying 75lb Stone on Head Hands Raised

Profile, and rear view of nude male looping walkcycle carrying a 75 pound stone on his head with hands raised. 12 frame looping walkcycle.



Plate 27 - Nude Male Looping Walkcycle Carrying 75lb Stone on Head Hands Raised
Duration of action: 75/100sec or 45f@60fps




Plate 352 - Semi Nude Male Underwear Rifle Shoulder Order Carry Arms

Front, front three-quarter, and rear three-quarter views of semi nude male wearing underwear with rifle on shoulder, order carry arms. 11 frame arm movement.


Plate 352 - Semi Nude Male Underwear Rifle Shoulder Order Carry Arms
Duration of action: 300/100sec or 180f@60fps



 

 

Plate 388 - Nude Male Farmer Using Spade Loop

Profile, rear, and fron three-quater views of nude male farmer using a spade loop. 12 frame stoop and lift.



Plate 388 - Nude Male Farmer Using Spade Loop
Duration of action: 353/100sec or 212f@60fps



Plate 435 - Nude Female Ironing Clothes

Profile, rear, and front three-quarter views of nude female ironing clothes. 12 frame stoop, arm movement.
Plate 435 - Nude Female Ironing Clothes
Duration of action: 295/100sec or 177f@60fps





Plate 448 - Two Nude Female Descending Stairs Goblet Meeting Girl Bouquet

Profile and three-quarter views of two nude female, one descending the stairs with goblet, other girl with bouquet, meeting. 11 frame walk, carrying.

Plate 448 - Two Nude Female Descending Stairs Goblet Meeting Girl Bouquet
Duration of action: 229/100sec or 138f@60fps




Plate 611 - Horse Trotting Harnessed To Sulky Clothed Male Rider

Profile and rear views of horse trotting while harnessed to a sulky with a clothed male rider. 12 frame horse run.

Plate 611 - Horse Trotting Harnessed To Sulky Clothed Male Rider
Duration of action: 52/100sec or 32f@60fps


Plate 742 - Bactrain Camel - Racking and Galloping

Rear views of bactrain camel, a, racking, b, galloping. 12 frame quadped varying runs.

Plate 742 - Bactrain Camel - Racking and Galloping
Duration of action: 100/100sec or 60f@60fps



















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