Thursday, June 27, 2013

cat, not actually in motion

... although if she were twirling round in the air, Moth might look something like this.   I spent a good part of today reading about spark photography in the 1890s, in the columns of Nature and other periodicals. C. Vernon Boys, who way predated Harold Edgerton in taking photographs of bullets piercing various objects, lectured on the process to the Edinburgh meeting of the British Society in 1892, where he talked, among other things, about F. J. Smith, who had been taking sequential photographs on one plate in order to show movement:
"I had hoped to show one of these series of an intentional character, to wit, a series of a cat held by its four legs in an inverted position and allowed to drop.  The cat, as everyone is aware, seems to do that which is known to be dynamically impossible, namely, on being dropped upside down to turn round after being let go and to come down the right way up.  The process can be followed by one of Mr Smith's multiple spark photographs.  However, his cats do not seem to like the experiments, and he has had in consequence had so much trouble with them that his results, while they are of interest, are not, up to the present, suitable for exhibition."  (Nature March 9th 1893, pp. 415-6).
No word as to whether he knew of Etienne-Jules Marey, who'd been photographing a falling cat in 1890  ("the world's first cat video"...).  I don't think that this is going to make its way into my Flash book - but it deserved an airing, somewhere ...

No comments:

Post a Comment