The great 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge is the subject of a new movie, a biopic called Eadweard. It covers his famous professional life and controversial private life and is due for release this year.The movie was directed by Kyle Rideout and stars the Canadian actor Michael Eklund.
Muybridge has had a career comeback in recent years with new a new biography, a comprehensive new website, and recently a major exhibition at London’s Tate Gallery. There is even a chamber opera by Philip Glass called The Photographer.
Muybridge deserves this public attention for the breadth and drama of his life, as well as his great influence on photography and cinema. He was a highly successful landscape photographer before millionaire Leland Stanford hired him to capture the galloping horse. He soon became an international celebrity on the basis of his Animal Locomotion photographs. He presented these in book form and in public lectures where his projector, the zoopraxiscope, displayed them in living movement.
These lectures were an immediate predecessor to cinema which he helped give birth to following discussions with Thomas Edison in 1888. The Kinetoscope craze soon followed, then the Nickelodeon phase and modern cinema around 1904.
Muybridge’s private life was equally compelling. Discovering that he was not the father of his seventh month old baby, he sought out his wife’s lover and, after introducing himself with the words “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here’s the answer to the letter you sent my wife” shot him dead.
He was later acquitted due to “justifiable homicide” despite the plea of insanity due to a serious head injury after a stagecoach accident. With dramas like these, you might wonder why it took so long to have a movie about him.
See the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/133479780