Vintage Strobe Light Photographs Are A Beautiful Anatomy of Motion

<p>Revisiting the photographs of electrical engineer Harold Edgerton in this <i>Anatomy of Motion</i> series.</p>

With technology moving as fast as it does today, it’s easy to feel like we’re discovering things for the first time. That is, until you get a reality (or history) check and discover that no, you are not the first person to experiment with long exposure photography. This collection of historical photo experiments by Harold Edgerton, assembled by Alec Shao, is a nice reminder that creative experimentation with new technology has a long and vibrant tradition.

Edgerton developed this style of photography using the stroboscope, which you might know as the strobe light. Before it became a mainstay item at Spencer’s Gifts, Edgerton used the strobe in conjunction with his camera’s flash to capture entire ranges of motion being performed by his subjects. Initially, he used the technique to capture momentary stills of functioning electric motors in order to examine them. It’s clear why this practical use of technology led to all sorts of artistic experimentation. I mean, look how awesome these are.

Gus Solomons, 1960

Indian Club Demonstration, 1965

Back Dive, 1954

Tennis Player, 1938

Baton, 1953

The Golfer, 1960