It’s interesting how the progression of time, a notion that’s seemingly so basic and fundamental has inspired so many different approaches to it’s incorporation in photography.
Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer became famous in the 1860’s for his work with animal locomotion. The photograph below was the result of his efforts to capture the different stages in a horses gallop (this was pretty groundbreaking stuff at the time). He placed a lot of cameras around a track that were attached to trip-wires that set off the cameras when the horse galloped by.
What’s interesting is that the picture bellow was assembled from his hundreds of individual shots artificially, as opposed to just arranging the images in the order of which they were taken, which some would argue is a more “objective” telling of the narrative. Much like the way scenes from a film do not necessarily appear in the order they were shot, what Muybridge assembled is a more clear telling of the narrative based on his own intervention as the “artist” (even though this was considered a scientific study).
Here’s the stop-motion version of the above image:
Here are some of Muybridge’s more naked experiments:
On the other side of the coin, Etienne-Jules Marey (French scientist who also worked with photography around the same time), whose work contributed a lot to modern cardiology, had a different approach to representing motion and thus temporal progression:
The Image above is a set of three different approaches the representation of a walking man. Marey dressed his subject in a black suit from head to tow and drew white lines along the arms, legs, head and torso (I think), and used a long exposure photograph against a black backdrop to produce the top two images.
Here’s another beautiful picture of a bird’s movement by Marey. Not sure how he did this: