Although Muybridge first made his name in 1867 with large-format photographs of Yosemite Valley, he is best known for his pioneering photographic studies of motion, begun in the 1870s, and his early work in motion-picture projection. In the 1880s, his photography of humans and animals in motion, made using 24 cameras arranged horizontally and parallel to the line of motion, was sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania. Movement of the hand; beating time is one of 781 plates, comprising 20,000 photographs, published in 1887 as Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Connective Phases of Animal Movements. Unlike other pictures in the massive set of portfolios that captured movement of the entire body across space, this work traces the rhythmic play of hand and fingers against a dark backdrop.


  • Title: Movement of the hand; beating time
  • Creator: Eadweard Muybridge
  • Creator Lifespan: 1830 - 1904
  • Creator Nationality: English
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date: 1887
  • Physical Dimensions: w59.2 x h47 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Prints
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Collotype
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Target Collection of American Photography, museum purchase funded by Target Stores

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