The photographs of Eadweard Muybridge are immediately familiar to us. Less familiar is the dramatic personal story of this seminal and wonderfully eccentric Victorian pioneer, now brought to life for the first time in this engaging and thoroughly entertaining biography.
His work is iconic: the first icons of the modern visual age. Men, women, boxers, wrestlers, racehorses, elephants and camels frozen in time, captured in the act of moving, fighting, galloping, living. Scarcely a day goes by without their derivate use somewhere in today's media. And if most of us have seen Muybridge's distinctive stop-motion photographs, all of us have seen the fruit of his extraordinary technological innovation: today's cinema and television.
But it is his personal life that possesses all the ingredients of a classic non-fiction best-seller: a passionately driven man struggling against the odds; dire treachery and shocking betrayal; a cast of larger-than-life characters set against a backdrop of San Francisco and the Far West in its most turbulent and dangerous era; a profusion of scientific and artistic advances and discoveries, one hotly following on another; the nervous intensity of two spectacular courtroom dramas (one pitting Muybridge against the richest man in the land and staring ruin in the face, the other sees him fighting for his life). And for the opening act, a foul murder on a dark and stormy night.
Skillfully articulating the fascinating history of a now ubiquitous technology, author Brian Clegg combines ingredients from science and biography to create an eminently readable, fast-paced, and surprising story.
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