Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HELIOS: Eadward Muybridge at SFMOMA



The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently opened a fascinating, extensive show of photographs by the pioneering San Francisco (by way of Britain) photographer Eadward Muybridge, whose motion studies in the 1870s at the newly opened Stanford University essentially ushered in movies and the modern age.



As Rebecca Solnit puts it in her fine 2003 book, "River of Shadows: Eadward Muybridge and the Technological Wild West":
"The experience of time was itself changing dramatically during Muybridge's seventy-four years, hardly ever more dramatically than in the 1870s. In that decade the newly invented telephone and phonograph were added to photography, telegraphy, and the railroad as instruments for 'annihilating time and space.' The big corporations were spreading their grasp across wider spaces and into more subtle interstices of everyday life. The Indian wars were reaching their climax and their turning point. The modern world, the world we live in, began then, and Muybridge helped launch it."

3 comments:

Axel Feldheim said...

Thanks for reminding me about this exhibit at the SFMOMA. Very clever photo at the top! I'm very interested in Muybridge, but I haven't seen Solnit's book yet.

sfmike said...

Dear Axel: Thanks for noticing the cleverness of the top photo. The young man was taking a photo of a friend on the stairway who would have been an even better model because he had a horizontal striped shirt that mirrored the walls.

Kit Stolz said...

Great quote!

Another book I have to read.