Photo: Science / CONFERENCE 2021


Photo: Science/ Photography and Scientific Discourses

November 30 – December 2, 2020, Prague, Czech Republic

The conference is held online on Zoom, due to COVID-19.


This first conference, organized by CVF, presents photography as a linchpin of the cognitive, imaginative, and social potential of modern man. As a causal and mechanical image, as a reproduction technique, or as an extension of the visual senses, from its very outset, photography fuelled key social changes, influenced the approaches to learning, interpretation, self-reflection, and memory, and made major inroads into the system of art and ways in which various art genres and the media functioned. Thanks to this medium, the paradoxical dichotomy between truth and manipulation became a leitmotiv of the 20th century: and photography shapes the further development of science, art, and communication to this day. Photography is one of the tools with which we approach the world and talk about it. As such, it is, first and foremost, a medium, a carrier of information about things and phenomena. Yet its own establishment, in the sense of the photograph as an autonomous image or phenomenon characterized by a stable identity, history, and theory, is far more complex. In the field of aesthetics, catachresis is a frequent topic of discussion. This is no coincidence. The radical polarization with which we approach photography (art/craft, art/documentary, truth/manipulation, etc.) gives rise to its perennial subordination to ingrained interpretation mechanisms which, however, were created for other types of image and originated in different methodological contexts.

The Photo: Science conference reflects the position of photography in the contexts of science and vice versa. The influence of photography on the development of modern disciplines can hardly be overestimated. The individual sections will, therefore, focus on a few basic issues –

– the relationship between photography and modern sciences

– development of modern technologies

– the position of photography among other artistically potential media and within museum collections or exhibitions

– the speculative and philosophical background of visually-oriented science

Our objective is not to generalize or produce new, “universalistic” theories of the photographic image. We are working with the assumption that the approaches of sociology, anthropology, art history, general history, and the natural sciences may be radically different, yet inspirational and enriching.

This symposium falls within the broader scope of activities of the Photography Research Center of the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Its effort is to observe the full spectrum of relationships and contexts surrounding this medium precisely and above all from his own perspective.


The conference is held online on Zoom, due to COVID-19.

Registration will take place via e-mail:, or via registration forms: ZOOM.

Here you will find the conference programme, information about our speakers, and abstracts of individual lectures.

A lecture led by Maciej Wielgus (Event Horizon Telescope, Harvard University) and his discussion with Vladimír Karas (Astronomical Institute, CAS) will be open to the public and streamed live on Facebook. They will be interpreted simultaneously in Czech.

To watch the lecture by Maciej Wielgus on 30 November you need to register via  ZOOM. Link to live to stream: Facebook.

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