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October 10, 2022

Dancing Fancy: A Sequence of Photographs Taken by Eadweard Muybridge in 1884-1885 of a Woman in Long Dress Dancing

In 1883, the University of Pennsylvania commissioned Eadweard Muybridge to produce a photographic study of animal and human movement that they hoped might help to analyze diseases and malfunctions of movement.

Guided by a committee of scientists, Muybridge nevertheless still approached the project as an artist. Animal Locomotion included over 19,000 photographs in a very expensive 11-volume set, aimed at connoisseurs and libraries. He focused on the narrative and aesthetic qualities of the photographic sequences. Figures were inspired by classical statuary and clearly reflect contemporary gender and social stereotypes, as shown by ‘Dancing Fancy’.

Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904) was a pioneering photographer and inventor. He is internationally renowned for his ground-breaking movement studies and moving image projection which was the first of its kind. Muybridge’s achievements immensely influenced many aspects of our modern culture, including visual arts, film, animation and many more.

Muybridge also invented the ingenious motion picture projector, the ‘Zoopraxiscope’ which was the first projector showing moving images of photographic live motion. He used the Zoopraxiscope to illustrate his lectures in the US and Europe.


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