Sport and scientific photography

Sport and scientific photography

  • Chronophotography of a fencer.

    ANONYMOUS

  • Chronophotography of a pole vaulter.

    DEMENY Georges (1850 - 1917)

  • Chronophotography of a runner.

    DEMENY Georges (1850 - 1917)

To close

Title: Chronophotography of a fencer.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1902

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 9 - Width 12

Technique and other indications: Paper print after negative on a glass plate

Storage location: INSEP icon library website

Contact copyright: © Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP website

Chronophotography of a fencer.

© Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP

To close

Title: Chronophotography of a pole vaulter.

Author : DEMENY Georges (1850 - 1917)

Creation date : 1902

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 9 - Width 12

Technique and other indications: Paper print after negative on a glass plate

Storage location: INSEP icon library website

Contact copyright: © Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP website

Chronophotography of a pole vaulter.

© Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP

To close

Title: Chronophotography of a runner.

Author : DEMENY Georges (1850 - 1917)

Creation date : 1902

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 9 - Width 12

Technique and other indications: Paper print after negative on a glass plate

Storage location: INSEP icon library website

Contact copyright: © Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP website

Chronophotography of a runner.

© Collection Iconothèque de l'INSEP

Publication date: March 2007

Historical context

During the second half of the 19th century, photography, as a professional or leisure practice, aroused considerable enthusiasm, increased by technical progress. The cult dedicated to speed, energy and performance corresponds in effect to the advent of positivism and productivism.

Image Analysis

The first two photos are chronophotographs taken by Georges Demenÿ at the Joinville School. The first represents the start of a speed race (paper print from a glass plate, INSEP, 1902/1907). The second represents a pole vault (negative on a 9 x 12 glass plate, INSEP, 1902/1907). In both cases, the subjects, who are monitors of the School, are simply dressed in a thong and a pair of clear shoes so that the bodies stand out against the black background in front of which they move. . We can clearly distinguish the different positions of the two athletes (in particular, for the pole vaulter, the race, the push, the crossing of the bar and the landing) as well as the work of their muscles during the effort. Document n ° 3 (9 x 12 glass negative, INSEP, 1902/1907) is another type of chronophotography, known as graphic or geometric. The process involves using a subject wearing a balaclava and a black velvet jumpsuit with white buttons and cords (or metal rods) along the limbs. This is a fencer (Arms Master Bazin) performing a forehand with a front lunge. We can note the undulations of the foil during the movement, which form a kind of interlacing. The number of images obtained is greater than that of conventional chronophotography. It allows you to follow, by a series of paths and a succession of curves that the photo makes very apparent, the trajectory of each part of the body and the play of the joints, from the beginning to the end of the movement.

Interpretation

Invented by physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey in 1882, chronophotography is an instrument of scientific observation. Using a photographic chamber equipped with a large rotating shutter, it makes it possible to record a series of successive images on the same photosensitive medium (either on glass plates of 9 x 12 or 13 x 18 format, or, as early as 1888, on a mobile celluloid tape), from a single point of view and at equal time intervals. These images, taken at a fraction of a thousandth of a second, reproduce with disturbing perfection the entire movement of a subject against a black background. Therefore, by accurately visualizing the decomposition and variation of movements, it is possible to understand how they work. Georges Demenÿ, passionate about gymnastics, also interested in the analysis of human locomotion and how it can be improved by the practice of physical exercises, was Marey's assistant at the Physiological Station of the Parc des Princes between 1881 and 1894. When in 1902 he was appointed professor of physiology at the Normal School of Gymnastics and Fencing of Joinville-le-Pont, he in turn set up a studio in which he took lessons. numerous chronophotographs of athletes, in particular these three documents. These images of inexhaustible formal richness constitute, along with others, a veritable visual anthology of sporting techniques accomplished in perfect synthesis in time and space. They allow the study of the strength, speed, skill and flexibility of athletes in action and have led Demenÿ to give a scientific basis to the teaching of physical education and to establish the foundations of this that we will later call biomechanics. We must also point out the undeniable plastic qualities of these documents, which are of exceptional interest with regard to the aesthetic history of photography. Geometric chronos have made a strong impression on certain Cubist artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, who was inspired by them for his “Nu descendant un escalier” in 1912.

  • chronophotography
  • cubism
  • photography
  • sport

Bibliography

Michel FRIZOT E.-J. Marey, the photography of movement Paris, Center Georges-Pompidou, 1977. Laurent MANNONI The Great Art of Light and Shadow: Archeology of Cinema Paris, Nathan University, 1994. Laurent MANNONI Georges Demenÿ, pioneer of cinema Douai, Pagine Editions, 1997. Laurent MANNONI Etienne-Jules Marey: the memory of the eye Paris, Mazzotta-Cinémathèque Française, 1999, Christian POCIELLO Science in motion: Etienne Marey and Georges Demenÿ (1870-1920) Paris, PUF, 1999.Pierre SIMONET INSEP, from Jointville gymnastics to contemporary sports Nancy, Gérard Klopp, 1998 Christophe STUDENY The Invention of Speed, France 18th-20th century Paris, Gallimard, “Library of Histories” collection, 1996.

To cite this article

Laurent VÉRAY, "Sport and scientific photography"

Connections


Video: Sports Photography - How to Photograph a Premier League Football Match. Tips u0026 Camera settings