The galloping gait of the dog Maggie

The galloping gait of the dog Maggie

‘Slices of time’ in Surrey show

Historic photographs by Eadweard Muybridge and Harold Edgerton captured the mechanics of motion

Works by two giants of the history of photography – whose pioneering efforts dramatically expanded understanding of time and motion – are featured in concurrent exhibits originated by the Vancouver Art Gallery and visiting Surrey Art Gallery Jan. 21 to March 5.

Out of Sight pays tribute to the photographs of both Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) and Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), while Zoopraxis focuses on Muybridge’s work in capturing the animal kingdom.

Muybridge used serial cameras to record humans and animals in motion – his earliest stop-motion experiment was made to settle a bet that all four of a horse hooves left the ground in mid-gallop.

Subsequent work at the University of Pennsylvania from 1883 to 1886 recorded the movement of humans at work, at leisure and at play, presaging the development of cinematography in what amounts to a series of mini-movies.

Similar experiments with mammals and birds borrowed from the Philadelphia Zoo literally became a textbook study, published in 1887 as Animal Locomotion.

Edgerton, an electrical engineer, pioneered strobe flash photography, developing units that were capable of making 120 flashes per second. Starting in the 1930s, he created a series of photographs, championed in Life Magazine, that could freeze even the fastest actions – a drop of milk splashing, a plunge off a diving board, even the path of a bullet – into still photographs.

Working separately, and decades apart, both Muybridge and Edgerton created revelatory “slices of time,” showing what the human eye could not discern unaided.

This theme will be explored in three associated events at the Surrey gallery, 13750 88 Ave.

On Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m., exhibition curator Stephanie Rebick will participate in a panel discussion of the work of Muybridge and Edgerton, while on Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., Toronto author Marta Braun will talk about Muybridge’s work in an art historical context.

On Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m., a tour of the Out of Sight exhibition with Rebick and SAG curator Jordan Strom will provide behind-the-scenes insights into the works.

For information, call 604-501-5566 or visit


Surrey North Delta Leader

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