In his early twenties, Eadweard Muybridge moved to the United States, where he was drawn to the primarily uncharted Western landscape. After a stagecoach accident, he convalesced back home in England and learned photography. Upon returning to the States in 1867, he soon earned his reputation photographing the landscape. Apparently a hot-tempered man, Muybridge shot and killed his much younger wife's lover but was acquitted after a sensational trial, in part perhaps because he was friends with Leland Stanford, railroad magnate and governor of California. They became acquainted in 1872, when Stanford made a bet regarding a horse's gallop, contending that when a horse gallops, at some point all four of its feet are off the ground simultaneously. Stanford hired Muybridge to prove it photographically; Muybridge, using a system of trip-shutter, high-speed photography and twenty-four cameras, did just that. Never one for false modesty, Muybridge declared: "The circumstances must have been exceptionally felicitous that made co-laborateurs [sic] of the man that no practical impediment could halt and of the artist who, to keep pace with the demands of the railroad builders, hurried his art to a marvel of perfection that it is fair to believe it would not else have reached in another century."
Eadweard J. Muybridge (American, born England, 1830 - 1904) Running (Galloping) from The Attitudes of Animals in Motion Negative 1878 - 1879, print 1881 Iron salt process, 18.7 x 22.4 cm (7 3/8 x 8 13/16 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.XO.362.49