The Man Who Stopped Time: The Illuminating Story of Eadweard Muybridge—Pioneer Photographer, Father of the Motion Picture, Murderer

Brian Clegg, Author . Joseph Henry $27.95 (265p) ISBN 978-0-309-10112-7

Eadweard Muybridge "stopped time," according to science journalist Clegg, by training a dozen cameras on a trotting horse, to show its movement as no painter ever had. While devising this system of sequential photography, Muybridge realized he could animate the horse's movements by reassembling the negatives. Having made his name as a pioneering photographer of Yosemite and Alaska, he made his historical mark by devising an innovative system of recording and showing motion pictures. Despite his flawed technology, it was Muybridge who opened the first movie house at the 1892 Chicago World's Fair, and his concept inspired the process used today. But Muybridge's engineering successes were tempered by tension in his personal relationships, Clegg shows. He alienated his patron Leland Stanford and spent years trying to drum up the massive financial backing he'd taken for granted. He also lived the second half of his life as a murderer, having shot his wife's lover, yet winning acquittal after arguing for his own insanity. Working with sometimes contradictory evidence like newspaper clippings, court records and personal letters, Clegg holds his readers' attention by filling in gaps in historical data with careful suppositions. (May 12)

Reviewed on: 01/22/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
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