In the early 1870s, Edward Muybridge began working on a series of photographs demonstrating the details of a horse in motion – until then the shape of a galloping horses legs or the points at which contact was made with the ground were not known. The process was at the forefront of the then technology and the results received an enormous amount of attention for demonstrating the power of science through the camera to reveal hidden reality.
Muybridge’s pictures of horses, other animals and humans in motion continue to have an immensely captivating appeal – in part this can be explained by nostalgia for Victorian science and technology which has an accessibility not shared by the extreme complexity of their modern counterparts. More importantly, the striking images have the power of great art to provoke contemplation of form and its relation to truth.
Muybridge’s pictures have been influential on many other artists – these steps of influence in some way echoing the sequences in his pictures. Duchamp’s “Nu Descandant un Escalier” (1912) was taken form Muybridge’s similar series – the Duchamp was one f the pictures that caused the most controversy in the New York Armory show of 1913 which itself helped propel modernism in America. Muybridge is still directly influential: for example Steven Pippin’s series of photographs using adjacent washing machines as motion capturing cameras.
Whilst, my leaf photos are of the effect of time on different subjects rather than a single subject moving through time I hope to create a similar sense of wonder that comes from observing something in detail for the first time.
Matthew Greenburgh is an artist who focuses on still life work with strong aesthetic and symbolic components.