How do we know what an amoeba looks like? How can doctors see the details of our skeletons and internal organs? What enables us to see an exploding star in another galaxy? All of these things are made possible through the innovations of photography. Kelley Wilder here provides a primer on the remarkably fruitful applications of photography to science as she explores the multiple facets of this complex relationship.
"Photography and Science" describes how photography first established its legitimacy through close association with key scientific ideas and practices, such as objectivity, observation, archiving and experimentation. Wilder then charts how photography returned the favour by serving as a powerful influence in various scientific disciplines, such as biology and astronomy. The book digs into the controversial debates over photography’s "success" in the sciences, its use in practical fields such as medical imaging and x-raying, and the complicated relationship between scientific theory and art practice.
Augmenting this fascinating study are eighty photographs of scientific subjects and experiments, many of which are published here for the first time. A thought-provoking, broad-based examination, "Photography and Science" will be an essential addition to the bookshelves of scientists, photographers and art historians alike.
Kelley Wilder is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Imaging and Communication Design, De Montfort University, Leicester, where she heads the MA in Photographic History and Practice. She has published widely in the fields of science, art and photography.
"this meaty treatise addresses the roots of empiricism and reliability, as well as the minutiae of chemical processes harnessed to the scientific cause and the descendants of the photograph – electron micrographs, radiographs, satellite images, among others" – Seed magazine
"Wilder's book is a thought-provoking journey into the most exciting and less known aspects of the history of photography and its most recent applications. Her persuasive line of argumentation discloses an original perspective on this form of representation and reveals that photography's strengths lie mainly in what were once considered as its insoluble contradictions. Photography and Science stands as an informed, elegantly illustrated and vividly argued study of two fields which are only rarely examined in conjunction, and as such it will captivate scientists, artists, historians and philosophers alike" – Metapsychology