My youngest daughter Annabel, who took up photography, is reappearing on my radar I’m happy to say. Without any prompting, she’s joining the blog brigade, and I’m happy to link my readers to her website. Here, she chooses today to commemorate the 182nd birthday of the much neglected Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904). She shows the connection between him and the film business, for he predates Edison by several years, with his moving projections of a galloping horse and some naked models in the 1870s. Come to think of it, he was using stereoscopic multiple cameras in much the same way that James Cameron does today. Yes, we certainly owe him!
Muybridge (birth name Edward James Muggeridge) emigrated from England when a young man, and settled in the Bay area of San Francisco. In his forties, he took to himself a young wife named Flora, and while away on one of his photography trips, probably shooting landscapes in Yosemite, or Eskimos in Alaska, or American Indians in Oregon, he returned home to find love-letters between her and another man. She had taken a lover, a Major Larkyns. Did she file for divorce? Did he go to California Family Court? No. This is what he did:
He sought Larkyns out and said, “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here’s the answer to the letter you sent my wife” and thereupon shot him dead.
He was tried for murder and pleaded temporary insanity. Friends testified that the accident had dramatically changed his personality from genial and pleasant to unstable and erratic. The jury dismissed the insanity plea, and the judge acquitted him. Verdict: “Justifiable Homicide”. His patron, race-horse owner Governor Stanford, paid for his defense.
He divorced his wife, and was awarded custody of their son Florado (nicknamed “Floddie”). Muybridge believed Larkyns to be the boy’s biological father due to calendar dates, but, as an adult, Floddie was said to bear a remarkable resemblance to Muybridge. Anyway, he worked as a ranch hand and gardener, lived in Sacramento, and in 1944 was killed by a car.
I’m only left to wonder why my daughter chose this subject for her story. There were no killings during my adventures in court (thankfully.) The only insanity was going on behind the bench, and in the privacy of Judge Gold’s chambers, from which I was excluded. Never mind. Shows she’s thinking about me.