Eadwaeard Muybridge was born in Kingston upon Thames, England, on April 9, 1830, and passing away on May 8, 1904, was a pivotal figure in the history of motion pictures, although his direct involvement with the zoetrope and praxinoscope was limited. Muybridge's primary contribution to the field was through his pioneering work in motion photography, which laid the groundwork for the development of cinema.
Muybridge's most famous work began in 1872 when he was hired by Leland Stanford, a Californian governor and race-horse owner, to settle a debate about whether all four feet of a horse leave the ground during a gallop. To capture this, Muybridge developed a series of cameras that could take rapid succession photographs. By 1877, he had successfully photographed a horse in motion, proving that all four feet do indeed leave the ground.
Although Muybridge's work was initially separate from the zoetrope and praxinoscope, it significantly influenced these devices and the field of motion pictures. The zoetrope, invented by William George Horner in 1834, was an early form of motion picture projector that displayed a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of motion. Similarly, the praxinoscope, invented by Charles-Émile Reynaud in 1877, improved upon the zoetrope by using a series of mirrors for viewing, resulting in a clearer and less distorted image.
Muybridge's sequential photographs could be and were later used in devices like the zoetrope and praxinoscope to demonstrate motion. His work is particularly notable for its impact on later inventors and filmmakers, who were inspired by his ability to capture and dissect motion in a way that had never been done before. His techniques in motion photography laid the groundwork for the development of motion picture cameras and the art of cinema.
While Eadweard Muybridge's work was not directly related to the invention of the zoetrope or praxinoscope, his pioneering motion photography significantly influenced these devices and the broader field of motion pictures. His contributions are considered foundational in the history of film and animation.