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Étienne-Jules Marey (French, 1830–1904)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

French photographer. His photographic research was primarily a tool for his work on human and animal movement. A doctor and physiologist, Marey invented, in 1888, a method of producing a series of successive images of a moving body on the same negative in order to be able to study its exact position in space at determined moments, which he called ‘chronophotographie’. He took out numerous patents and made many inventions in the field of photography, all of them concerned with his interest in capturing instants of movement. In 1882 he invented the electric photographic gun using 35 mm film, the film itself being 20 m long; this photographic gun was capable of producing 12 images per second on a turning plate, at 1/720 of a second. He began to use transparent film rather than sensitized paper in 1890 and patented a camera using roll film, working also on a film projector in 1893. He also did research into stereoscopic images. Marey’s chronophotographic studies of moving subjects were made against a black background for added precision and clarity. These studies cover human locomotion—walking, running and jumping (e.g. Successive Phases of Movement of a Running Man, 1882; see Berger and Levrault, cat. no. 95); the movement of animals—dogs, horses, cats, lizards, etc.; and the flight of birds—pelicans, herons, ducks etc. He also photographed the trajectories of objects—stones, sticks and balls—as well as liquid movement and the functioning of the heart. He had exhibitions in Paris in 1889, 1892 and 1894, and in Florence in 1887.

Patricia Strathern
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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