Monday, April 9, 2012

Muybridge's Birthday

The Google doodle today was a moving picture.  Edweard J. Muybridge (Muggridge, Muygrige) was an incredible dude.  Rebecca Solnit wrote a book about his times, which is excellent.  Muybridge was driven to accomplish amazing technical feats with cameras, which requires an uncommon level of obsessiveness.  That is a common pairing.  Not everyone agrees that we owe the invention of movies to him.  I think that he probably was the only person capable of accomplishing that incarnation of motion pictures at the time, and that he helped create the California to come.  It wasn't just because he knew how to do a little chemistry, and not only because he had a wealthy patron for the most expensive period of his experiments.  The most important thing was still his obsessive eye, focused on seeing time and existence as ambiguous, fluid phenomena.  Objects flashed under the sun and ghosted his soggy silver plates.  All was arbitrary, some was magic.  He probably drew no motivation from his eventual contribution to society.  It was just a beautiful obsession.

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