Étienne–Jules Marey’s (March 5, 1830 – May 21, 1904) interest in the art of visual storytelling stemmed from his other passion, the study of human anatomy and physiology. He started recording the movements of human body through photography, an art form that was taking its first tentative steps in 19th century. It did not take long for Marey though to be obsessive about photography for photography’s sake.
Marey’s experimentation led to a separate branch in animated photography known as Chronophotographe. In 1882, using an instrument called chronophotographic gun, Marey could capture 12 consecutive frames per second recorded in a single image. He studied the flight of birds, locomotion of dogs, sheep and cats and swim of fishes in this method. Abstract forms like smoke trails or falling balls did not escape his attention either. His smoke machine, built in 1901 based on 58 smoke trails, was one of the first aerodynamic wind tunnels. As a cardiologist he was instrumental in the creation of Sphygmographe that was used to measure pulse.
In 1890, Étienne–Jules Marey published Le Vol des Oiseaux richly illustrated with drawings as well as photographs. His experiments in the field of photography also earned him a prominent position in the history of cinema.