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Helios Capture the Coast: The Washington Lighthouse Photographs of the Infamous Eadweard Muybridge



Eadweard Muybridge became one of the most celebrated photographers of the 19th century when he captured a never-before-seen image of a racehorse with all legs off the ground. His technological skills and artistry eventually led to the development of the earliest motion pictures.

Before he became famous, in 1871, Muybridge traveled on a commission along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington Territory to photograph the lighthouses then active. While the California segment of his trip is well documented, his journey to Washington and Puget Sound has not previously been explored.

This essay describes the details of his northwest trip and the subsequent course that led Muybridge to murder his wife's lover. It's a strange tale of a strange man and his remarkable life.

Keywords: Washington, 19th-century, 1871, coast, lighthouse, Muybridge, Helios, ships, navigation, photography, 

This essay was published in Columbia (37:2, Summer 2023), the Washington State Historical Society magazine.

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