Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book would not have been possible without the help of many people.I am grateful to Jane Maienschein for putting me on the path to the studyof visual representations in science. The book began in conversations aroundthe seminar table in the History and Philosophy of Science Department ofCambridge University. I was fortunate to be in a graduate program with Iwan...
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Ever since its invention in the 1830s, many have seen photography as a mediumof truth and unassailable accuracy. Photographs have been used by scientiststo map the planets, by police to identify criminals, and by magazine editors todocument events around the world. Photographs are able to represent phe-nomena that are invisible or difficult to see with the naked eye, whether bacte-...
1 Constructing Science and Brotherhood in Photographic Culture
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Photography, by the end of the nineteenth century, was a well-established method for documenting different aspects of the city: its streets, people, and monuments. A photograph taken by Scottish photographer James Valentine between 1870 and 1880 shows London Bridge teeming with people and commerce (Fig. 1.1). The capital city of London was the scene of rapid innovations...
2 Testing the Unity of Science and Fraternity
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From the late 1850s on, the press reported numerous cases of mistaken photo-graphic identity, particularly in metropolitan cities. Although readers learnedabout many people who were arrested solely on the basis of a photograph, theyalso learned about mixed success with photographs as a test of identification.They discovered, for example, that a solicitor sued the sheriff of Surrey for false...
3 Acquiring a Scientific Eye
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Meteorological photography, one of the fastest growing and publicly visibleareas of scientific photography during the second half of the nineteenth cen-tury, resembled spirit photography in its reliance on a network of skilled ama-teur and professional photographers. Developing at the nexus of landscape paint-ing, drawing, and amateur nature photography, serious interest in meteorological...
4 Photography of the Invisible
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An 1882 Photographic News essay, “What Photography Does for Science,” compared the proliferation of photography during the late 1870s and early 1880s to the hierarchies within the rising Victorian labor market for domestic service. Roughly forty years after its invention, the author wrote, the camera was no longer an “upper-servant” but rather a “maid of all work.” After elaborating...
5 Photographic Evidence and Mass Culture
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For hundreds of years, astronomers and members of the lay public had speculated about the possibility of life on other planets. In May 1905, the “proof ” appeared in the first successful photographs of Mars, made by amateur planetary astronomer and wealthy businessman Percival Lowell. Around the world, newspapers and magazines published reproductions of the photographs with...
Epilogue: Enlarging the Concept of Photographic Evidence
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It is more important than ever at this historical and political moment to consider the complex ways in which knowledge based on photographs is appropriated, resisted, and transformed by different groups. Visual arguments and evidence are central role to a range of policy and institutional activities today. More than a decade after the Rodney King trial in Southern California and in...
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Essay on Sources
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This essay reviews the photographic collections, organizational and private papers, books, news-papers, journals, and other sources used to research this book. For articles in newspapers, mag-azines, and scientific and medical journals, the reader is directed to specific references in the notes.The photographic holdings of scientific organizations, private and public observatories, sci-ence museums, and teaching hospitals in Britain provide a wealth of materials and information....
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 68 halftones
Publication Year: 2006