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The Bet That Gave Us One of the Most Famous Photos Of All Time

Discover the unusual origin story behind Eadweard Muybridge's photography

Eadweard Muybridge (1830 - 1904) is well-known for his photographic studies of motion.

But would you believe that this iconic photograph all originated in a bet?

Running (Galloping), Eadweard J. Muybridge, 1878 - 1881 (Collection: The J. Paul Getty Museum)

In 1872, railroad magnate Leland Stanford bet a friend that all of a horse's hooves leave the ground when it's running, and hired Muybridge to prove it. Muybridge set up 24 cameras that were set-off by the horse's movement over a series of trip wires.

And who won the bet?

Detail from Running (Galloping), Eadweard J. Muybridge

Stanford of course! Here you can see that the horse's feet leave the ground simultaneously, all thanks to Muybridge's skillful photography!

See more of Muybridge's motion studies here.

Words by Léonie Shinn-Morris
Credits: All media
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