A big hit today on the web is the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). Introduced by CompuServe in 1987, GIFs allows movement to perhaps otherwise boring images. I see you think, how are GIFs photography related? Well in a way GIFs finds its origin way back in the 1800s. The early days of photography.
Étienne-Jules Marey was a pioneer in the field of photography. As a scientist and physiologist he became fascinated in the movement of the body and that of air. He started to research flying animals. He had the brilliant idea of capturing a flying animal on one photographic surface. He adopted and further developed animated photography into a separate field of chronophotography in the 1880s.
Around the same time a popular debate in the USA was about the movement of horses. People wanted to know whether all four hooves of a horse were off the ground at the same time while trotting or galloping. Eadweard Muybridge, allegedly inspired and influenced by the works of Étienne-Jules Marey, was asked to settle the debate by using his photographic skills.
To study the gallop, Muybridge planned to take a series of photos on June 19, 1878 at Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm. He placed numerous large glass-plate cameras in a line along the edge of the track; the shutter of each was triggered by a thread as the horse passed. (In later studies he used a clockwork device to set off the shutters and capture the images.) He copied the images in the form of silhouettes onto a disc to be viewed in a machine he had invented, which he called a zoopraxiscope. This device was later regarded as an early movie projector, and the process as an intermediate stage toward motion pictures or cinematography.
So there you have it. The invention of photography kickstarted the understanding of movement, the movie industry, animations and GIFs.
I came across this video by coincidence today (4/13). I thought I would share it with you. Since it fits so perfectly in this post about Muybridge. It is a movie from 1965.