Friday Photo: Winging It with Eadweard Muybridge


Eadweard Muybridge, Cockatoo; flying. Plate 759, 1887; collotype; Corcoran Gallery of Art

Two of our favorite things—Moluccan cockatoos and the pioneering photographs of Eadweard Muybridge—come together in today’s Friday Photo, an 1887 collotype that is on view through June 7 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of “Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change.” The blockbuster exhibition, which takes its name from the sunny pseudonym that Muybridge used in the late 1860s, includes more than 300 objects created between 1857 and 1893, including his only surviving zoopraxiscope—an apparatus he designed to project motion pictures. Curator Philip Brookman of the Corcoran Gallery of Art brought together works from 38 different collections, ranging from Muybridge’s photographs of Yosemite Valley and images of Alaska and the Pacific coast to his 1869 survey of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads and breathtaking pictures from Panama and Guatemala that reveal his architectural and landscape photography chops (a successful survey photographer, he also worked as a war correspondent). In this doozy from his Animal Locomotion series of stop-motion photographs, Muybridge captured 24 frames worth of a cockatoo in flight. It’s up to you to imagine the bird’s peachy feathers and jaunty salmon crest.