Perhaps the best examples of Edgerton's multiflash photography are his images of athletes in action. This photo of tennis great Gussie Moran not only shows the multiflash at work, but also gives us some insight into the subject's personality. In 1952, Edgerton brought his strobes and other equipment to Longwood to photograph the touring tennis stars. He was given a few minutes with each player before they went out for a match. Moran was glad to oblidge Edgerton, tossing the ball in a perfect parabola for a power serve. But, since she was known to the public for her stylish outfits, she refused to wear the black kimono that Edgerton typically used to prevent the subject's clothing from interfering with the photograph. The multiflash is simply a strobe firing in rapid succession, either timed electronically in regular intervals or released in manually timed, slower, or irregular intervals. Using the multiflash can be tricky, though. The flashtube may melt or even explode from overheating. There is variation in the range of illumination of the areas that receive many flashes of exposure (such as a background or relatively stationary body) or merely one flash (such as a moving ball or arm). The flash must also recycle quickly. Synchronization is more complex because one flash must end at the appropriate moment for the next to begin at the right time. Finally, the rate of flashing must be timed to separate or crowd the individual exposures as best suits the image.
Tennis; Photography, Sports; Multiflash Photography -- Harold E. Edgerton Negative Collection subject term