Moving Beyond Vision: Eadweard Muybridge in Philadelphia


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art and Architecture


Between 1884 and 1887 Eadweard Muybridge obsessively photographed bipeds and quadrupeds in motion at the University of Pennsylvania. Published under the title “Animal Locomotion,” the resulting photographs captured phases of movement invisible to the naked eye. This dissertation explores the troubled relationship between the motion studies and nineteenth-century empiricism by examining how Muybridge’s collaborators at the university addressed questions concerning visual technologies, perception, and the mind within their own artistic and scientific practices. It thus approaches “Animal Locomotion” as a collaborative project and, more broadly, reassesses how users and viewers of photographs negotiated the limits and identity of the medium during the last decades of the nineteenth century.