The Photographer is a chamber opera by world renowned American composer Philip Glass, first performed in 1982 at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, commissioned by the Holland Festival. The story revolves around the life and work of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, the 19th century pioneer in photographic studies of motion and motion-picture projection. The centerpiece of the story is the trial for Muybridge’s murder of the alleged real father of his child, an accusation Muybridge was indeed found guilty of. Remarkable outcome of the trial was that Muybridge received no punishment on the grounds of ‘justifiable homicide’.
The Photographer is one of the works bridging the gap between Philip Glass’ earlier compositions up through Einstein on the Beach and his later pieces for more traditional instrumentation. In the future, Classical will release more works of this fantastic composer. In July 1878, Muybridge successfully photographed a horse at a gallop using a series of fifty cameras. Each of the cameras was arranged along a track parallel to the horse’s, and each of the camera shutters were controlled by trip wires which were triggered by the horse’s hooves. This series of photos, taken at Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm, is called The Horse in Motion, and shows that, indeed, the feet all leave the ground.