Pioneering the Art of Multiple Exposures


The early 19th century saw a massive amount of innovation and new discoveries in science and its various facets. One such pioneer was Étienne-Jules Marey, who was on his own pathbreaking journey in France. He has been credited with the development of several technologies in physical instrumentation, cardiology and even aviation. His most important creation, however, was a gun. This gun wasn’t used to kill… it was used to make photographs. In 1882, Jules Marey came up with the technique of chronophotography, which allowed him to make 12 exposures on the same frame. He built a special instrument, shaped like a gun, to shoot these images. With it, he recorded the movements of animals and birds, in the effort to understand the nuances of their movement.

Also, he had already recorded a horse’s gait two years before Eadweard Muybridge did, but he never publicised his photos, instead transferring his results to a bar graph for an expert to read. When he saw Muybridge’s photos in a magazine, he realised the aesthetic importance of the images he was making.