Time|Motion – Photographs by Jonathan Shaw, Harold Edgerton & Eadweard Muybridge

This exhibition ‘Time|Motion’, held at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from July to September 2003, brought together the work of three photographers, Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton and Jonathan Shaw.

All three have links with Birmingham: Muybridge being a visitor and lecturer in the city in 1890; Edgerton having the first exhibition of his astonishing high-speed photographs made in the 1930s and 40s shown there in the 1970s; and Shaw being a Birmingham-based photographer whose subject matter includes the city and its people.

Central to the project was Jonathan Shaw’s commission to produce two site-specific new pieces for the exhibition. Shaw observed and documented the movement of visitors within a range of gallery spaces at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to produce the new works, a computer interactive and a spectacular large print, over thirteen metres long, which ran the length of the gallery in which it was shot – the largest single photograph ever displayed in the Museum.

Shaw’s work was shown alongside plates from Muybridge’s revolutionary 11 volume Animal Locomotion (1887), part of Birmingham Central Library’s important photography collections, and key examples of Edgerton’s highspeed photographs generously lent by Geoffrey W. Holt. Together the work of these three photographers demonstrates the extraordinary potential of the photographic image to explore and capture movement and the passage of time.