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Science in Motion: The Photographic Studies of Eadweard Muybridge, Berenice Abbott and Harold Edgerton

September 20, 2019–January 5, 2020

Photography itself was born out of a passionate engagement between art and science.

“…there needs to be a friendly interpreter between science and the layman. I believe that photography can be this spokesman, as no other form of expression can be; for photography, the art of our time, the mechanical scientific medium which matches the pace and character of our era, is attuned to the function. There is an essential unity between photography, science’s child, and science, the parent.”
—Berenice Abbott, Photography and Science, 1939

Photography’s pioneers, Josef Nicéphore Niépce, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, were inventors, scientists and mathematicians. The results of their intellectual endeavors dramatically affected the art form and forged a reciprocal relationship between art and science in photography that has continued to this day.

This exhibition of thirty-six photographs offers a rich and extensive view of the scientific studies done by three of photography’s greats—Eadweard Muybridge, Berenice Abbott and Harold Edgerton. Each of these artists invented devices to study and represent aspects of light and motion scientifically and photographically. Their works not only illustrate scientific phenomena clearly and elegantly but also reveal the artists’ individual artistic sensibilities.


This exhibition has been loaned through the Bank of America Art in our Communities program.