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October 26, 2022

Man and Woman Dancing a Waltz, ca. 1884-85

Before the movie camera, 10 years before the Roundhay Garden Scene (1888) and 12 years before the Lumiere brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1886), Eadweard Muybridge was creating the first motion pictures.

Using up to 24 still cameras, Muybridge first captured time in motion over 140 years ago in a groundbreaking project “Animal Locomotion.” His project began with Horse in Motion in 1878 and was finally completed at the University of Pennsylvania between 1884 and 1885.

The woman in Man and Woman Dancing a Waltz is Blanche Eplar. The man’s name is unknown though he may have been one of Muybridge’s staff drafted in for the session. It was most likely made in 1884.

Eadweard Muybridge (April 9, 1830 – May 8, 1904) was an English photographer known 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.

As a young man, Muybridge wanted adventure and was keen to see the world. He set off for the United States in 1850 and initially worked as a bookseller in New York.

After sustaining a head injury from a serious stagecoach accident in 1860, Muybridge returned to England where he gradually recovered. During this time in England, Muybridge invented a washing machine and plate-printing apparatus, as well as acquiring his photographic skills.

After over 40 years of a remarkable career abroad, Muybridge returned to his hometown Kingston in 1894 where he spent his last years until his death in 1904. Muybridge donated his own collection to Kingston Museum.


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