Lenticular plates add an appropriately eye-catching gimmick to this quick profile of the 19th-century photographer whose sequential photographs of a horse galloping established that during its stride, all four hooves left the ground.
The four lenticular plates (one of which is duplicated for the cover) are based on Muybridge’s photos and more or less suggest what audiences who viewed the originals through his spinning Zoopraxiscope might have seen. Unfortunately, two are silhouettes, and none can be angled to offer a clean single image. More helpfully, the full sets of stills from which the plates are drawn along with sequences of other characteristic subjects—from the galloping horse that first made him famous to a flying bird and a winsome child picking up a doll—are included too. These, along with Braun’s terse but specific account of Muybridge’s career and achievements offer a clearer sense of why his photos are still worth studying for what they reveal about animal and human movement. Not to mention that they’re entertaining to pore over. As he regularly rates mention in histories of early filmmaking but almost never anywhere else, his work may be new to young readers and viewers, to boot.
Low production values notwithstanding, a rare glimpse of a historically significant visual artist who also plainly had a well-developed sense of fun. (chronology, resource list) (Biography. 8-10)