Today's Google Doodle Celebrates An Early Filmmaking Pioneer

By Katey Rich 2012-04-09 08:28:08discussion comments
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There's no one father of the movies, since the technologies for film and cameras and projectors all came around simultaneously in several places-- both Thomas Edison and the French Lumiere brothers can make pretty good claims to inventing the medium, so historians generally let them share it. But before any of them were building their Black Maria or terrifying moviegoers with a train arriving at a station, Eadweard Muybridge was laying the groundwork for what would eventually become the movies-- and today being his 182nd birthday, Google is honoring him with their doodle.

The image below is what you'll see at the Google homepage. Click on it to go there and see the doodle in action.



The doodle will eventually lead you to google Muybridge, but in case you didn't bother, here are the basics: Muybridge was a nature and war photographer who was brought in by California governor Leland Stanford to answer a burning question: When a horse is at a trot, are all four of its hooves off the ground? It was important enough that Stanford assigned Muybridge to figure it out, and Muybridge set up a series of cameras in a line to capture the horse at every moment in its movement. By putting the photos together and projecting them using a machine called a zoopraxiscope, Muybridge created one of the first moving images-- nothing short of magic when the first proper movies were 20 years away from existing.

So while Muybridge wasn't a filmmaker and didn't create anything we might call movies today, he was definitely a pioneer in the format that would go on to change art entirely. Happy Birthday, Mr. Muybridge!
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