Eadweard Muybridge, an acclaimed, eccentric English photographer, worked in San Francisco in the late 19th-century. He was challenged by Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific Railroad, to capture a photograph of a running horse that proved that all four legs left the ground at one. In the six years it took for Muybridge to successfully produce this image, he created the fastest series of photographs in history and the first motion picture. Muybridge's relationship with Stanford was plagued by terrible feuds. He also married Flora, a woman barely half his age and prone to infidelity. Upon discovering that their infant son was not his own, he found and killed the bastard child's true father. Muybridge then endured a sensational murder trial, and Stanford's lawyers eventually freed him. There was also betrayal in his professional life: Stanford published Muybridge's research, taking full credit for himself. Thomas Edison stole his technology and patented the motion picture camera, receiving universal acclaim. But Muybridge rebounded from these losses and eventually published his magnum opus, Animal Locomotion, an encyclopedic volume of photographs of animals, humans, which even featured his own naked body in motion.
Writer: James Darling