Beauty of Another Order: Photography in Science

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Ann Thomas
Yale University Press, 1997 - Photography - 256 pages
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A pole vaulter in motion, algae, prehistoric footprints, human anatomy, solar eclipses, the Alps -- images in scientific photographs can puzzle, startle, and inspire new thinking. This handsomely illustrated book presents a pioneering collection of photographs of science subjects that raised questions about catastrophe theory, human evolution and behavior, the nature of matter, and the place of our planet in the universe. The contributors to this volume, leading experts in the history of photography and scientific photography, consider the history of these images, their technical genesis, and the questions of representation they inspire.

Mimi Cazort examines the conventions that governed the representation of scientific subject matter in prints and drawings prior to the invention and disco, very of photography. Drawing on fragile and beautiful nineteenth-century images, Larry Schaaf illustrates a compelling narrative of the first decades of photography. Ann Thomas shows how the search for pattern became a heuristic and aesthetic element early in the history of making scientific photographs. In another chapter, she traces the evolution of photography in astronomy. John McElhone describes a little-documented color process -- the Lippmann plate -- and the context in which Gabriel Lippmann devised it at the turn of the nineteenth century. Contending that photographic representation altered the parameters of representation in medicine and in ways more complicated than generally accepted, Martin Kemp looks at the work of Galton, Batut, Morel, Diamond, Dagonet, and Londe. And Marta Braun links pioneering work in the photographic representation of movement to that of Harold E. Edgerton, twentieth-century master of stop-action photography.

This book accompanies an exhibit by the same title at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa from October 17, 1997 to January 6, 1998 and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from February 5 to May 3, 1998.

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About the author (1997)

Ann Thomas is Curator of the Photographs Collection at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Among her books are "No Man's Land: The Photography of Lynne Cohen; Beauty of Another Order", which won the Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award in 1998; and "Lisette Model".

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