The first nude movies were published in 1887 — and they were unlikely for both social and technological reasons.
Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion is the subject of Sarah Gordon's Indecent Exposures: Eadweard Muybridge's "Animal Locomotion" Nudes.
By negotiating technical and societal obstacles, Muybridge created a lasting record of life as it was lived in the 1800s (clothed and unclothed). Muybridge began as a photographer, and his early motion studies focused on animals. Once he moved to Philadelphia, he convinced elites to back his study of humans, and he created a backdrop that, Gordon argues, helped legitimize his work.
Though Muybridge didn't use film — his series were photographs in still plates — he often displayed his pictures in public, using his own inventions to project them in sequence. They brought kinetic energy to incredibly unusual subjects.
The result? Nudity from the Victorian era that still entertains, educates, and scandalizes us today. See the images in the video above.