Studies in Motion
Basic photography techniques were first developed by Louis Daguerre in 1839. Improvements in optics, chemical processes and camera design would help refine the process and by the 1870s it was possible to photograph slow moving subjects with a degree of clarity. Eadweard Muybridge was the first person to effectively use this technology, becoming famous for his sequential images of a galloping horse – and providing illustrative proof that all four hooves were off the ground at the same time.
Inspired by Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey and Ottomar Anschütz would go on to produce a series of photos showcasing “successive phases of motion”. Marey would later record some of the visiting American athletes at the 1900 Olympics Games so he could compare their methods with those of French athletes.