On a Gilded Age Photo and Contact Sheet at Art Palm Beach



Both are Muybridge original copies, part of an album:

it’s his naked woman, smoking, and sitting on a chair—

actually, two chairs because her feet are on another one

as you scan his contact-sheet series for moving-pictures:

first, she sits sideways, puts her feet up, not facing him—

the woman voluptuous, sassy, seeming without a care,

puffing away on that cigarette in this short strip of film—

then the cameras are repositioned so they’re facing her.


Muybridge proved for Leland Stanford—horse lover,

Stanford University founder, and railroad tycoon—

that all of a horse’s feet, at some point, leave the ground,

shooting “Occident” in stop-motion (Leland’s trotter)—

this was after Muybridge shot to death his wife’s lover

and Stanford’s Chinese-Irish crews made him robber baron.


 

Stephen Gibson is author of eight poetry collections: Frida Kahlo in Fort Lauderdale (2020 finalist, Able Muse Press book prize, forthcoming), Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror (2017 Miller Williams Prize winner, University of Arkansas Press), The Garden of Earthly Delights Book of Ghazals (Texas Review Press), Rorschach Art Too (2014 Donald Justice Prize, Story Line Press; 2021, Story Line Press Legacy Title, Red Hen Press), Paradise (Miller Williams prize finalist, University of Arkansas) and others.