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A fascinating collaborative investigation of some of the earliest photographs of Latin America by the renowned nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge

Phantom Skies and Shifting Ground

Landscape, Culture, and Rephotography in Eadweard Muybridge's Illustrations of Central America

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Byron Wolfe and Scott Brady

In 1875, after being acquitted for the murder of his wife's lover, Eadweard Muybridge spent a year photographing along the Central American Pacific Coast, particularly in Guatemala and Panamá. Upon his return to California in 1876, he published a very limited number of albums of the photographs (11 are known), each of which was unique in size and scope. In 2007, photographer Byron Wolfe (born 1967) tracked down and cataloged every known Muybridge Central American photograph. Then, with cultural geographer Scott Brady, he traveled to many of Muybridge's sites to rephotograph them. Through photographic collage, interpretive rephotography, illustrations and essays, this book examines an exceptionally rare series by Muybridge. Also included is a catalog of every known Muybridge Central American picture.

In addition, the website phantomskies.com is intended as both a preview and complement to the print publication. Animations and videos are presented here to help introduce the visual language and subsequent interpretation of Muybridge's photographs. There are numerous samples of original Muybridge photographs, rephotographs and responses, as well as a sample field notes essay. Additional collateral material such as a bibliography with an index of institutions that hold rare Muybridge albums is also available on this site.


Published in partnership with Radius Books

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About the Author(s)

Byron Wolfe is Professor of Art, Program Director, and Graduate Advisor for Photography at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Scott Brady is Professor of Geography at California State University, Chico.

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Subject Categories

Art and Photography

Latin American/Caribbean Studies

History

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