Muy­bridge and the Rid­dle of Lo­co­mo­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS -

By Marta Braun Fire­fly, 23 pages, $20 IN the 1870s, English pho­tog­ra­pher Ead­weard Muy­bridge amazed the world (and set­tled some bets) by tak­ing a se­ries of pho­tos show­ing a horse in mid-gal­lop, in­clud­ing the first pho­to­graph to show the an­i­mal with all four feet off the ground. In the years that fol­lowed, he took tens of thou­sands of pho­tos of an­i­mals and peo­ple in mo­tion. Ryerson pro­fes­sor Marta Braun’s slim hard­cover, writ­ten for ages nine and up, sketches a brief out­line of Muy­bridge’s ca­reer, il­lus­trated with Muy­bridge plates and four lentic­u­lar im­ages — fig­ures printed un­der a plas­tic, ribbed coat­ing that makes them ap­pear to move when viewed from dif­fer­ent an­gles. The lentic­u­lar im­ages are more gim­micky than use­ful — they ren­der ir­rel­e­vant frame se­quences, which are much of the point of Muy­bridge’s work — and some of the other il­lus­tra­tive plates, such as a Cal­i­for­nia gold-rush poster, are of ques­tion­able value. But the book pro­vides a fac­tual, if bare-bones, in­tro­duc­tion to Muy­bridge’s work for younger read­ers.

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