Thursday, 11 November 2010

Muybridge in Kingston

I have been working in Kingston for the past few months and couldn't miss the opportunity to visit the Eadweard Muybridge exhibition.
Muybridge was born in Kingston in 1830 and after travelling most of his life he bequeathed his personal collection of his work to the town when he died in 1904. Along side an exhibition at the Tate Britain, Kingston's own museum is showing a small exhibition of Muybridge's work. I had the place to myself and was able to take my time reading all of the information on offer.
Eadweard Muybridge and his inventions were so important to the world of photography and moving pictures. He used photography and his Zoopraxiscope to show both people and animals in motion. Muybridge was originally acting as a scientist and his work was not instantly praised and appreciated for what it could show. And so Muybridge became a showman manipulating his work to make sequences that would appeal to his Victorian audience on a humorous level and earn him fame and fortune in return.
The exhibition showed many of Muybridge's original Zoopraxiscope discs as well as explaining how they were made, the equipment used to the project them and the way in which Muybridge made his name in Victorian times. At the end of the exhibition you are invited to sit and watch Muybridge's sequences projected onto a screen, they have been created to replicate what a Victorian audience would have seen.
The only thing missing from the exhibition was a little more technical information on how Muybridge created his original photographs but after asking an attendant at the museum I have the contact I need to find this out myself if I choose to. All in all this was a great, free, exhibition.

As well as this exhibition titled Muybridge Revolutions, there was another exhibition showing at the Stanley Picker Gallery by a contemporary artist responding to Eadweard Muybridge's work.

This exhibtion by Trevor Appleson titled, The Dance of Ordinariness contains four large screens that show a series of films simultaneously. Combined with sound these films show a women in a black studio completing every day activities. The motion has been slowed down and so allows the viewer to see details in these choreographed events that they would not normally see or possibly care about. For me this exhibition gave me a small impression of how a Victorian audience may have felt watching one of Muybridge's moving sequences.

All images shot on 35mm colour negative film using my Contax T2

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