Eadweard’s Projections

It’s not always easy to see where an idea is going until it gets there.

But don’t be surprised when you find out that it all goes back to a simple concept—say, like a circle—and some random autodidact with a crazy idea for what you could do with it.

This particular wheel became a foundational concept for a global system of media distribution that reigned supreme for half a century, and which will likely persist for much longer.

Not too shabby, Eadweard.


Eadweard Muybridge (/ˌɛdwərd ˈmaɪbrɪdʒ/; 9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904, born Edward James Muggeridge) was an English-American photographer important for his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion, and early work in motion-picture projection. He adopted the first name Eadweard as the original Anglo-Saxon form of Edward, and the surname Muybridge, believing it to be similarly archaic.

Born in England, at age 20 he emigrated to America as a bookseller, first to New York, and then to San Francisco. Planning a return trip to Europe in 1860, he suffered serious head injuries in a stagecoach crash in Texas. He spent the next few years recuperating in England, where he took up professional photography, learning the wet-plate collodion process, and secured at least two British patents for his inventions. He went back to San Francisco in 1867. In 1868 he exhibited large photographs of Yosemite Valley, which made him world-famous.

In 1874 Muybridge shot and killed Major Harry Larkyns, his wife’s lover, but was acquitted in a jury trial on the grounds of justifiable homicide. In 1875 he travelled for more than a year in Central America on a photographic expedition.

Today, Muybridge is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion in 1877 and 1878, which used multiple cameras to capture motion in stop-motion photographs, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip used in cinematography.

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