How the first nude movies were made

The first nude movies were published in 1887. And they were really unlikely. For one, it was a technical challenge. Film wasn’t available yet, so movies were
made by arranging frames in still plates. Cameras were heavy, cumbersome, hard to use. Society was just as big of an obstacle. These images appeared in a decade when censorship
groups like the Society For The Suppression Of Vice were on the rise. They said art with anything risqué should
be ‘thrown into the fire’. “It was the Victorian era. People like Anthony
Comstock in New York and Josiah Leeds in Philadelphia were leading these anti-vice crusades.” That’s Sarah Gordon. She wrote a book about
the photographer behind that first nude series. He was an English eccentric named Eadweard
Muybridge: A unique, rule-breaking murderer (who you’ll
see naked in 204 seconds). “With Eadweard Muybridge nothing is ever
simple, so he actually changed his name a couple of times. He was born Edward Muggeridge, he changed
it first to Edward Muygridge, then Muybridge, finally on his gravestone it says Eadweard
Maybridge.” Born in London, he emigrated to New York and
then San Francisco, where he photographed the American West and stitched panoramas of
his new city 134 years before your iPhone could do it. “And what it does is astounding.” He was weird. “He didn’t dress how, you know, people
thought he should be dressing he had the long beard, he would wear these strange hats. One
of his colleagues described him bringing cheese maggots to lunch.” These are cheese maggots. But he had bigger problems than lunch. “In 1874 in California, he discovered at
one point that the son he thought was his was not actually his.” “And he picked up a gun, took a ferry up
to the Yellow Jacket mine, which was North of San Francsico, and shot his wife’s lover
dead.” He was acquitted. “I think he was the last person acquitted
on the basis that his rage and murder was a natural response to the incident.” But his mastery of technology helped him overcome
his unique personality. Before the whole murder thing, in 1872, the
railroad tycoon Leland Stanford – yep, that Stanford – commissioned Muybridge to help
settle a bet. Did all four of a horse’s legs leave the
ground in a gallop? Muybridge built a fast shooting camera to
take many pictures in succession. It was essentially an early version of what we call movies. His success led him to tour the world with
his images, using incredible tools, like his Zoopraxiscope which projected images from spinning discs. When he returned to America, he had his most
ambitious project yet. He’d photographed a horse running. Now,
he’d decided to photograph everything else. “Animal Locomotion was the culmination of
Muybridge’s photographic motion studies.” A massive 781 plate collection of photographs
required facilities and a crew but, Muybridge landed at Penn, and the ultimate outsider
secured an insider’s team. “They were sort of at the core of this Philadelphia
Elite — Professors of anatomy, human and veterinary anatomy, Physics, Engineering. These elites made Muybridge’s photographs
feel like science, even though they were artsy and titillating. But Muybridge didn’t only convince power
players to let him in the inner circle. He made his work look legitimate, too. “He built this shed with a black background,
and then in front of it he strung white string, making 2 by 2 inch squares across.” This grid was code for “nothing to see here.”
This is science. Drawing lines meant he wasn’t breaking rules. “You know I’m interested in how the project
on the one hand was very structured, but on the other hand there are all these little unusual and quirky
and in some ways threatening things that come out.” His grid included all members of society,
and yes, the man himself. “He did strip down and perform for the camera…it
does seem very unusual. For him, because of his personality, and because
of how daring and uninhibited he was, it makes sense.” Muybridge continued to innovate by rigging
up multiple cameras. “There was a lateral view of this motion…this
person or animal in motion, and then there would be two other perspectives on the body. “There’s one plate of a man doing flips,
he’s up in the air and you get this kind of 360 view of this one moment in time, and
the guy, he looks like he’s floating.” His work was a moving portrait of life as
it was lived — clothing optional. “I wouldn’t categorize him as a scientist
or an artist. I would say that he was a photographer — an innovative photographer— with a lot
of ambition.” And that’s how a legendarily bizarre guy
put on display what the rest of society always hid.

100 thoughts on “How the first nude movies were made

  1. VOX: "How the first nude movies were made"
    ME: "It couldn't have been THAT hard…but, I'm sure "somethings" might have been. LOL! (I'm so clever.)

  2. You guys deserve each and every thumbs up.
    Very interesting contents you have.
    A fellow the verge reader

  3. The "Horse Experiment" actually had 24 cameras, each tripped separately as the horse galloped past the array. That is why each frame can show the horse exactly side-on; otherwise, a single camera would need to pan, which would be obvious. Each frame was on quite a large plate, and it would be impossible to re-load in what was, effectively, one second. A nice coincidence that 24 frames per second became the default motion picture speed for many years.

  4. 4:59 so… An artist? Photography if not done for science is an art form. What was that sentence supposed to mean?

  5. my girlfriend and I in the bedroom at 5:11 in the upper left corner next to the naked men.

  6. How did they shoot a picture of a man when he was doing a backflip? Cameras took way more time to take pictures, back then, and if they did somehow manage to take that picture, it would be blury.
    They also couldn't use a rope because there was no photoshop to edit the picture with.

  7. “I wouldn’t call him a scientist or an artist. He was a photographer with a lot of ambition.” Uhh… An artist?

  8. Victorian Philadelphia? Huh?

    The US declared itself a sovereign state in 1776.

  9. I have a serious question someone should answer: why are peepees bigger now than before

  10. It was interesting resource material for animation study. Bridgeman of course for the anatomy, but for motion, a little Muybridge couldn't hurt.

  11. Coincidentally I'm learning about this period of the wild West in school.

  12. …. shouldnt he have shot the wife for cheating too?
    … seems he missed the mark …
    I vote that killing cheaters who lie and rob you of your life be legalized.

  13. 2:26 was this really a question back in the day? I mean you can literally hear a horse leaving the ground if you listen to them run

  14. Well done…more videos on such candid and flabbergasting topics…

  15. I was gonna say “all members of society? They’re all white?” But then I remembered poc weren’t invented until 1900

  16. can anyone please give me the titles for the images at 4:40 where the guy is "floating in 360"? Can't find them anywhere 😮

  17. Muybridge used 24 different cameras to shot the horse running, not a "super fast camera".

  18. Sounds to me like a Creep who accidentally happened to be a genius.
    Like the original fetishist.

  19. Here let me help you out of the uggy artsy cheese cloth sack Ms. Gordon. Then take a look at that ample chest cold yah got go'n on there!

  20. Ralph Fiennes was supposed to make a movie about Muybridge. I wonder what happened with that?

  21. It's rather insulting to insinuate that a photographer is neither artist nor scientist. On what basis are you creating the distinction that photographs are or are not artistic? The pictures Muybridge made have everything to do with the new technology that he was exploring and what it was capable of and it's intersection with modernist photography and the notions of the human figure as a pinnacle of form in Art (see just about any History Painting). He was creating photographic objects that described the subjects in ways that people had never seen before. The locomotion he recorded influenced how painters painted things that were supposed to be seen as moving. Just because some sequences are problematic (like freak shows) does not make his work a monolith and shouldn't discredit the things that were accomplished, nor does it mean that he wasn't an artist. He was of his time and he was influenced by what was expected of works of Art at the time among many other things—as all artists are.

    TL;DR to call Muybridge "not an artist, but a photographer" is an attempt to lower the status of photographs and photographers everywhere in every time.

    Oh, and another thing, where is this whole "Muybridge was a scientist" claim coming from? I mean really though, where is Vox drawing the line between Art and Science?!

  22. Vox, please correct the record on what is Photography, what is Art, and what is Science.

  23. Uhhhh if my husband ate maggots for lunch I would probably seek companionship elsewhere too….yikes lol

  24. Vox I’m still waiting for an updated video on the Middle East especially Assad and his syria today

  25. I thought for a second that he discovered his sun wasn't actually HIS sun. Don't know why I heard it that way…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *