The conference abstracts are listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s surname, with information about affiliations and conference sessions.

The complete programme is available on the conference webpage; it can also be downloaded.



Photo: Science/ Photography and Scientific Discourses

November 30 – December 2, 2020

Prague, Czech Republic


Public Lecture

Maciej Wielgus / Event Horizon Telescope, Harvard University
Vladimír Karas / Astronomical Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences

Event Horizon Telescope and the first Image of the Black Hole/ Public Lecture
In 2019 we saw the first image of a black hole, showing the supermassive object in the center of the M87 galaxy. It was made possible with the Event Horizon Telescope, a global array of radiotelescopes acting together as a giant Earth-size radio dish. Is this image a “photograph” of a black hole? I will explain how very long baseline interferometry works, and what this technique has to do with photography. I will explain how sophisticated data processing and advanced computational imaging algorithms get us from raw electric signals to the famous image of a fiery cosmic doughnut.


Keynote Speakers

Magdalena Vuković /  PhotoInstitut Bonartes
Andrea Fischer / Institute of Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences

A Clear View: The Role of Photography in the Geo-scientific Discourse as Initiated by Friedrich Simony / Keynote Lecture II
Today, glaciers are icons, sentinels and archives of anthropogenic climate change. These positions evolved during a century of progress in geoscience, and are closely related to the history photography. In 1895, the Austrian geographer Friedrich Simony (1813–1896) published his last and most important work “Das Dachsteingebiet” (The Dachstein Area). It concluded his lifelong study, spanning over half a century, of a small mountain massif in the Northern Alps. Simony’s colleagues were most impressed by the many illustrations, as geographic publications back then usually contained few if any photographs. Simony on the other hand was an early advocate of image and saw it as an important tool of knowledge for geography. He used photographs to demonstrate geomorphological processes, focusing the discussions and adding a time-lapse perspective. He repeatedly presented his views in articles and closely followed the developments in mountain photography. Professional photographers such as the Bisson brothers or Gustav Jägermayer had climbed the highest peaks of the Alps in costly expeditions since the 1860s. According to Simony, however, these breathtaking photographs were hardly suitable as illustrative material, because aesthetic aspects overshadowed the scientific ones. In 1875, he, therefore, took things into his own hands repeatedly photographing the Dachstein with its glaciers, ending up with the first calculation of ice volume changes. The demonstration of how glaciers are forming the landscape over time resulted in the general acceptance of climate change. Simony, also a pacemaker of scientific outreach, made these pictures widely available in magazines and books. Both approaches still prevail today and prepared the ground for climate change as a topic of societal discourse.


Kelley Wilder /PHRC, De Montfort University Leicester

Photography and the Science Notebook / Keynote Lecture I
Scientific notebooks are a critical part of any observational or experimental practice. In photographic history, we have looked to notebooks by well-known experimenters like Talbot and Herschel, to understand how photography was developed, but very little time has been given to understanding how photography changed from being the object of the notes to patterning the note-taking. This talk will consider several different examples of scientists using photography, and the notebooks, and photographs they produced.


Dawn Wilson / Department of Languages and Philosophy, University of Hull

Reflecting, Registering, Recording and Representing – from Light Image to Photographic Picture / Keynote Lecture III
I first introduce a distinction between ‘single-stage’ and ‘multi-stage’ accounts of photography. In the history and philosophy of photography, single-stage accounts predominate. Against this tradition, I argue that photography is a multi-stage process. If this is right, many long-held beliefs about photography deserve to be re-examined. For example, the notion that photography is a recording medium and the notion that a photograph is a visual representation of the photographed scene, which are combined in the idea that photographs provide a visual record of the photographed scene. Using the multi-stage approach, I discuss how reflecting differs from representing and registering differs from recording. If recording and representing are reconceived in this way, we can avoid philosophical problems that arise for the single-stage view.


Conference Speakers

Camilla Balbi / Visual and Media Studies, IULM University of Milan

When Photography Met Museum: the Hamburger Faksimile-Streit / Systems, collections
This paper will investigate how the popularization of photography in the late Twenties deeply influenced and modified the approach to reproductions both in the museographic and aesthetic field, introducing for the first time in the artistic debate new kinds of issues, concerning technique, modernity, as well as the social and political impact of the medium, which will become essential for the future development of the 20th century art theory.
My research will explore the paradigm shift occurred in Germany at the beginning of the last century, which led from Wölfflin’s “How One Should Photograph Sculpture” (1896) – in which photography is conceived as an almost neutral representational tool – to Benjamin’s crucial study on the work of art, a theoretical turning point for the critical debate on the subject.
Specifically, I will focus on a key – although almost unexplored – transitional stage of this process: the Hamburger Faksimile-Streit, a debate on the epistemological status of art reproductions which took place on the Hamburger art journal Der Kreis between 1929 and 1930, and involved heterogeneous but prominent contributors: from art historians of the calibre of Panofsky to museum directors and curators like Dorner, Sauerlandt and Heise.
First, I will give a brief overview of the most interesting critical stances expressed in the Streit: Sauerlandt’s claim that “reproductions compromise the roots of our existence” and the curatorial consequences of the debate, namely the exhibition Original oder Reproduktion, curated by Alexander Dorner in 1929, which can be regarded as the first museal consecration of photographic reproductions.
The final topic I’ll touch upon will be on the opinion expressed by Erwin Panofsky. The position of the young Modern Art Professor is indeed particularly telling, since he rarely took a stand on contemporary art problems and, in Panofsky’s case, the reproduction debate constitutes a unique opportunity to observe how the spread of new technological devices had a direct impact on classical art theory.


László Beke (Department of Fine Arts Theory, Hungarian University of Fine Arts)

In our „post-photography”  (for me „Post-Contemporary) period, if we ask about the relation of photography and science, first we have to ask, what is science. If we look for definitions, we can see that science is not more science in the 20th-century sens. In my former Prague lecture in 2018, I have declared: photography is not more photography – photo died already in the last century. Digital photography can be a picture or image, but not more analogue.
We are now in the building of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute for Art History. This is the parallel institute to our institute in Hungary, in a slightly different position: in Budapest, there is no more a network of academic institutions. There is no research group for photography, however, we focus on the photography as a „new medium” incorporated in the art history of in the 19th and 20th century, and we start to construct a kind of handbook even of the history of photography.
We are interested in the relation of photo and sciences, similar to the trend of Art and Science or Art and Technology in the 2nd part of the 20th century (researches from C. P. Snow to Wolfgang Kemp). In that time, it became clear, that some fields are able to connect the two branches, so as geometry and space representation, colour theory, astronomy or molecular physics or microbiology.  Without photography black holes, some medicines, cartography and a thousand other discoveries could not exist. Some photo art powers could not come into existence if they don’t use fake scientific products (Gábor Kerekes, Tamás Waliczky. László Moholy-Nagy, on the contrary, inventor of the photogram, tried to use any kind of scientific discoveries for art and design purposes. The so-called „inhuman photography” of our day is nothing else but scientific photography (Zolátn Fejős, species of rocks).
Are history and theory of art and photography sciences? If they are, are they belonging to the human or natural sciences, or both? In my lecture, I should like to prove, by means of paradox examples, that not only photography can influence science, but vice versa too. In our time, it is impossible to judge, how many digital images are born per minute in the world. The production is incontrollable. There is one mathematical method to appreciate these number, it is a stochastic method, „the low of big numbers”. (In the call of our conference, we can see the application of a scientific method: diagrams or set theory figures.) But it is impossible to photograph everything in the world or even what we can see.  And would it be possible to photograph the invisible? But this is a philosophical question already.


Timothy Druckrey /Maryland Institute College of Art

Post-History, Post-Photography and the Perils of the Instant Archive: A little manifestoSpeculations
The notion of the “Post-history” is a fallacy, “post-photography” a delusion, the “instant archive” an omnivorous ‘condition’. As Adorno wrote: “The objective tendency of the Enlightenment, to wipe out the power of images over man, is not matched by any subjective progress on the part of enlightened thinking towards freedom from images.” (Minima Moralia). In contemporary terms, we must refigure the notion of representation as itself an interface into ‘realities’ only possible as images. Our representations no longer endure as mere signifiers but as cyphers. Indeed the near supremacy of current image technologies led one colleague to quip: “everything is photography.” Even long ago historian Elie Theofilakis remarked “the capacity of our sensory apparatus has been exceeded”
At this moment an “other photography” has emerged generating the Instant Archive. This hoard of images is an autonomous, fugitive structure made of uncoordinated uploads constituted as a kind of snapshot (pun intended), an utterly mediated version of pseudo -‘realities.’ It’s an ‘archive’ so dispersed, amorphous, so unstructured, and so temporary, that it’s disruptive, almost out of control. It is contingent rather than determinate, it is decentered and a bit wild, it is premised on no particular point of view, is ephemeral, transient, only momentarily present and subject to constant/immediate revision.
What of “photography thinking” in the past three decades? It runs the gamut from Jacques Ranciere to Joanna Zylinska to Georges Didi-Huberman to Hito Steyerl. Thus it might be relevant to oppose two texts, Vilem Flusser’s The Photograph as Post-Industrial Object: An Essay on the Ontological Standing of Photographs (1986) and Hito Steyerl’s In Defense of the Poor Image (2009). The pair stands as pivots, decisive links to gauge the relevance of images in the perilous realm of the instant archive.


Tomáš Dvořák / FAMU in Prague

Photographic Measures / Explorations
The paper sets out to describe and investigate the relationships between photography and measurement. Measurement is often seen as a hallmark of the scientific enterprise and a privileged source of knowledge, especially within the natural and empirical social sciences. The emergence of modern systems of measurement historically coincides with the emergence of photographic technologies; besides their common social, cultural and economic background both technologies also share ideals of precision, consistency, convertibility, objectivity and universal accessibility. Early commentaries on photography (from Arago to Talbot, Poe or Holmes…) stress the advantage of photography to provide minute, accurate and commonly-scaled data; photographs have been used to measure anything from the brightness of celestial objects to motion or social phenomena.
Besides the various employments of photographic images and/or cameras in the practices of measuring we can think of photography as a means of measurement in itself. Every measure is, in principle, a commeasure: an operation that brings discrete entities into a relationship and so makes it possible to compare and confront them side by side. As Susan Sontag noted in her landmark book On Photography: “What in reality is discrete, images join.” Photographs constitute spaces of equivalence and commensurability, define standards of appearance and
establish the conditions for comparing things, especially when images circulate within large administrative and political systems of scaling. To do so, photographic images and apparatuses need to be standardized and calibrated first. This recursive operation opens ways to understanding photography not only as a medium for making images of things but rather as a cultural technique of organizing, administering and managing the realm of the visible.


Alessandro Ferraro / History of Contemporary Arts, University of Genoa

Abstractionism between Photographic and Scientific Discourse in Italy: Some case Studies (1935-1947) / Art and Science
Between the Twenties and the Forties in Italy there was a peculiar interest to abstraction theory, both in artistic and in scientific contexts. Even if this approach to reality was clearly late compared to coeval European experimentations, the new images provided by scientific progress had a specific influence on the evolution of abstraction theories; in fact what art and scientific theory had in common concerning abstraction was their interest in the research of the invisible, intended both as something that had to be discovered and also as a “hidden world”. Furthermore, those new images (i.e. photomicrography and microcinematography) went through a popularization process mostly via scientific journals but also on popular magazines.
The goal of this lecture is to evaluate the impact of the scientific photography and its diffusion in artistic magazines during Fascism with a specific focus on Sapere, an educational science magazine which had a great diffusion among the public due to its direct and simple language and the huge amount of photos.  Between the Thirties and the Fifties, Sapere spread in Italy a new aesthetic paradigm, thanks to technological discoveries in photography such as stereoscopy, microscopical photography and microcinematography or x-ray photography. In the pages of the magazine, from 1935 to 1947, several articles were published regarding foreign photography, cinema and texts dealing with science, pseudo-science (i.e.: Stephan Pribil and the search for invisibility; the effort for a dream-photography project; smell-photography by Joseph Breitenbach) and Italian photographic culture. Through an in-depth analysis of the photographic and cultural value of Sapere, it is possible to follow the evolution of the photographic medium and its peculiar language, alongside the development of an Italian art-theory linked to abstraction.


Agnese Ghezzi / Max-Planck-Institut, Kunsthistorisches Institut Florence/ IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca

“A Human Iconography” – Photography and Anthropology in the 19th Century, between Natural and Social Sciences / Anthropology
When the anthropological discipline developed in the second half of the nineteenth century, photography appeared immediately as a proper registration device for the new science. In line with the ‘mechanical objectivity’ paradigm, pictures were promoted as a reliable tool to close the space between the geographical periphery and the scientific centre of interpretation in the European metropolis. The growing community of scholars elaborated theoretical discourses to regulate the use of the medium and, in Italy, a distinction between ‘scientific’ and ‘artistic’ photography emerged. On the one hand, anthropology desired a highly disciplined anthropometric representation of human varieties and, in line with natural sciences, the discipline tried to build a ‘human atlas’ where the biological features resulted isolated and comparable. On the other, anthropologists looked for a less staged and livelier depiction, not focused on bodily features but on traditional customs and habits within their original context. In the practice, both these photographic desires were unattended, as ‘scientific’ and ‘artistic’ representations followed different standards, and they often mixed in a hybrid picture.
The presentation analyses the photographic collections of the Italian museums of anthropology between 19th and 20th century in parallel with written sources such as articles and methodological texts. Moving from theory to practice, the paper analyses the anthropological discourses concerning the photographic medium, and compare it with the materiality of pictures and the photographic experience in the field. The investigation focuses particularly on a crucial divide that shaped anthropology in its making, struggling between the interest for measurable characteristic, derived from the natural science paradigm, and the fascination with cultural, historical and psychological features. To understand how anthropology situated itself at the crossroad between natural and social sciences, the paper will look at the way photography was used and conceived as a medium capable of interacting with both anthropological ambitions.


Valerie Jeanne-Perrier / CELSA Faculté des Lettres Sorbonne Université Paris

Natural Sciences, Photography and Image Theory / Speculations
Have the natural sciences generated their own theory of the image? We will try to answer this question based on the semiological observation of two specific cases. The first case is the Twitter profile of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands account and the second case is the Twitter account of the Brut media. One is an account of a research institution and the other is an account of an emerging media dealing with the issue of natural sciences. If the two accounts do not have the same vocation to edit photographs (sometimes videos), we observe that the same logic of use brings them together in terms of visual culture, based on an unthought approach in terms of the theory of the image. Over a period of observation (that will extend from September 2019 to September 2020) of the two Twitter profiles mentioned, we will see that the image is confined to an illustration logic, which must enhance the scientific gesture. Photography takes an important place, but it remains confined to a « caption » logic of scientific activity and mediation discourses. To make sense, science seems to have to leave the image in this second posture. The act of interpretation is always accompanied by the image, including when it is necessary to make known to large audiences the results of science: the unthought theory of the image is that photograph is a stooge, not of a companion. The “comparative” photography then acts on two major registers: that of emotion and that of pedagogy. The photographer in the service of science is then a storyteller.


Martin Jürgens / Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Lénia Fernandes / Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam
Ioannis Vasallos / The National Archives London

“A Crowd of Mercurial Globules” – On the Microscopic Examination of Daguerreotypes in 1839 / Technologies
With the public announcement of the daguerreotype in 1839, scientists, philosophers and businessmen quickly envisioned a number of ways of putting this new technique to use. The dissemination of pictorial information was an obvious implementation: works of art could be copied; architecture documented, and loved ones portrayed and fixed in time. Scientific uses included photographing the moon and documenting the spectra of electromagnetic radiation, but also capturing magnified biological samples through a microscope. This last application caught the particular interest of physicians Alfred Donné in Paris and Joseph Berres in Vienna, both of whom also developed methods of etching daguerreotypes and printing them on paper.

How did these scientists – and others, such as Hippolyte Fizeau – understand that a daguerreotype could be converted into an intaglio plate by simply etching it? It would seem logical that they not only placed plant cross-sections and blood cell samples under the microscope but also the then-novel daguerreotype plates. Indeed, already in 1839 Donné described and measured the “petites gouttelettes” that create the daguerreotype image. It appears evident today that the structural and functional topography of a daguerreotype – minute particles resting on blank metal, forming the image highlights – parallels that of the etch-resist layer on the surface of a metal printing plate. However, we have not yet found historical evidence that the pioneers of 1839 saw this correlation as well.
In this research project, daguerreotypes will be examined using microscopes of the time from Vienna and Paris in order to see what could be seen in 1839. This practical experiment should help us understand whether it was truly the view through the microscope – the photograph as the subject of science – that encouraged Donné, Berres and Fizeau to subsequently etch and print daguerreotype images – thereby essentially employing photography in the service of science.


Stefanie Klamm / Gotha Research Centre, University of Erfurt

Working On and With Photo-Objects in art-historical, archaeological and ethnological photo archives  / Systems, collections
In the 19th century, archaeologists, anthropologists, and ethnologists – along with art historians – began working with photographs and collecting them in archives. Here they formed the basis for techniques and methods of scholarly work. Their use in disciplinary practices was tied very much to them being mobile and three-dimensional objects. To become usable for research purposes photographs were altered by archival procedures such as categorization, labelling, and classification. Moreover, photographs themselves were processed for their scholarly use: they were colored, retouched, trimmed or cut up, reassembled, and put to use in new configurations, i.e. publications. Interfering into their material properties went along with processes of archival and disciplinary meaning-making.
The proposed paper will shed light on these processes by using examples from four photo archives which had been at the center of the collaborative project “Photo-Objects – Photographs as (Research)Objects in Archaeology, Ethnology and Art History”: the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, the Kunstbibliothek’s photographic collection, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the photographic documentation of archaeological excavations at the Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and ethnographic photographs of the Hahne-Niehoff-Archive at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. It will take up representatives from these archives in order to analyze how to work on and with photographs, e. g. cutting or retouching as one of the most important forms of treatment was crucial for the production of knowledge across these different humanities‘ disciplines.
The paper will argue that photographs are not only images but also historically shaped three-dimensional objects: They bear traces of handling and use and – as carriers of knowledge – circulate in social and cultural networks. By this approach, the paper shifts attention to the masses of anonymous photographs that are often disregarded because they don’t match systems of value based on uniqueness and authorship but which are nevertheless so important for the formation of knowledge in the humanities and sciences alike.


Nadiia Kovalchuk / Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography/ Sorbonne Université

Scientific Imagery Re-coded: the Appropriation of Scientific Photography Aesthetics in the late Soviet Non-official “Creative” Photography, Oleg Maliovany’s Case / Art and Science
In the realm of Soviet aesthetics, there was an explicit and standing ranking of photography usage. If the highest rank of the pyramid was held by the press photo, the significance of the scientific purposes of the photography, in turn, did not fall far behind. In the middle of the Cold War race, encouraged by the seemingly infallible ethics of science, the achievements of applied photographic technologies were highly promoted. However, in parallel to these privileged uses of photography, some Soviet photographers practised a “creative” or “artistic” photography, generally finding themselves charged with “formalism” or “desecration of Soviet reality”.
Starting from the middle of the 1960s in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, a couple of amateur photographers commit themselves to experiments with photographic materials, forms, and subjects. One of the members of this community, Oleg Maliovany gains high popularity in the 1970s, due to his proficiency in colour photography printing, the creation of enigmatic photo collages with nudes, and expressive images full of colour linear outlines which technics the author designed as “equidensities”.
However, this technique that assigns to each shade of grey of a monochrome photograph a random conventional colour, was developed at first for a scientific purpose, namely for cosmology and medical imaging. The author quotes indeed the Moscow exhibition at the end of the 1960s, presenting large colourful prints of lunar images that emitted the disturbing and impressive sensation of strangeness and peradventure. This experience motivated the aspiration of Oleg Maliovany to interpret these technics in his own work. Making a shift from science to science fiction, from the allegedly objective knowledge to the assumed subjective imaging, the work of Oleg Maliovany raises the questions of fairness and integrity of scientific representation of reality by photography, imposing an unavoidable part of randomness and misconception. 


Anaïs Mauuarin / Labex Hastec/Centre Alexandre Koyré

Photographs Playing against Type. The Ambiguities of the Human Races Gallery of the Museum of Man (1938) / Anthropology
The contribution aims to question what pictures do to scientific discourses, through the analysis of photographs exposed in the “Human Races Gallery” (Galerie des races humaines) inaugurated at the Museum of Man when it is opened in 1938. This gallery reactivated a pattern inherited form the XIXth century: a previous Human Races Gallery already existed at the Museum of Natural History of Paris around 1850, with daguerreotypes. However, in 1938, the goal of this new public gallery was clearly to provide an antiracist discourse to museum visitors. It materialized the building of an Antiracist racial Science in the French Anthropology during the 1930s, promoted by Paul Rivet and intended as a riposte against the racial scientific discourses, powerful for decades. Previous analyses of the gallery stressed that it failed to deliver an attractive antiracist discourse: the epistemological complexity of the discourse and the powerful stereotypic categories existing would have made the project difficult. Our purpose is to question the role played by the chosen pictures in this failure and in the garbling of the humanist discourse on race. As we will see, besides texts and skulls, the gallery presented mainly fixed portraits, front and side poses ones, collected by the Anthropological Laboratory of the Museum of Natural History throughout the second half of the XIXth. Our contribution aims to identify those images and to explain the process which conducted to use them in the gallery, while the Museum of Man staff was, elsewhere, very conscious of photographs effects. It would suggest how photographs may carry with them a deep, gnarled, and sometimes problematic, history.


Maria Medvedeva / Scientific Archive, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences Saint-Petersburg

Photography in Russian archaeology of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Past and Present / Systems, collections
The Scientific Archive of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of Russian Academy of Sciences (IHMC RAS) in Saint-Petersburg keeps the largest collection of photographs on Russian archaeology of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its history started in 1859 when the Imperial Archaeological Commission was established by Russian Emperor Alexander II, and archaeologists began to collect photographs in its archive. Now the photographic department includes about 700 thousand negatives and prints. Archaeologists early conceived the value of photographs as an unbiased documentary. The first photographs of archaeological finds and excavations on the territory of Russia date back to the 1860s-1870s. By the end of the 19th century, Russian archaeologists, architects, ethnographers and other scientists had already actively used photography in their practice.
Photos were taken by professional photographers (Ivan Barschevskiy, Dmitriy Ermakov, Ivan Chistyakov, etc.) involved in the work of the expeditions, and the leaders of the excavations themselves. Initially, photographs were mainly created as a scientific and documentary source that would preserve objective information about ancient monuments, excavations and finds. However, despite their scientific goals, many photographs immediately presented samples of aesthetic value. Interest in photography of ancient monuments in Russia increased by the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, archaeological photographs were shown at exhibitions and printed as postcards. Nowadays, the rules of modern archaeological photography are very different from those that existed in the 19th – early 20th century. Nevertheless, early science photographs continue to be important archaeological documents, but they are also studied as art objects and part of the world-historical and cultural heritage.


Michal Šimůnek /FAMU in Prague

Photographs of Photography: On Contemporary Meta-pictorial and Meta-referential Practices in Art and Science / Explorations
The current status of photography is linked to the networked digital image, recognised as a critical determinant of the changes sweeping contemporary photography. In this respect, most accounts on the multiplicity, ubiquity and triviality of photography have addressed widespread practices of camera phone photography and the networked digital image itself. To engage critically and reflexively to the transformations of photography is commonly the domain of scholars and artists, who question and problematise the routine ways we use photography for our everyday purposes, often proposing new categories that address emerging socio-cultural and technological constellations. Drawing on conceptions of playing against photography (Flusser 2006, Lenot 2017), meta-pictoriality (Mitchell 1994, van Alphen 2018), meta-referentiality (Wolf 2011, Shore 2014) and creative misuse of technology (Farman 2014), the present paper seeks to address those uses of photography, which question the technological nature of photography and its social and cultural position. It specifically aims to consider and compare selected examples of scientific and artistic meta-pictorial and meta-referential practices as tactics employed for disrupting and exposing to light those oppressive powers usually hidden behind the automated conventions and apparatuses that determine our media uses and practices. In other words, the paper asks and deliberates over the question of how might artistic and scientific practices resist photography when these practices in question are photography?


David Stella / Czech Globe – Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences/ Department of Philosophy and History of Science, Charles University in Prague
Pavel Pecháček / Department of Philosophy and History of Science, Charles University in Prague
Karel Kleisner / Department of Philosophy and History of Science, Charles University in Prague

Nondestructive, Fast, Ultraviolet: Applications of UV Photography in Ecology, Taxonomy and Evolutionary Biology / Technologies
Research of ultraviolet pattern was in the past relatively neglected due to technical limitations in this field. Nowadays, this topic receives greater attention, mainly thanks to technological advances in the methods of image capture and image analysis. UV photography is one of the methods which provide the possibility of capturing quantitative and qualitative data of UV pattern. Nondestructive UV photography offers several advantages in comparison with standard spectrophotometry. Primarily, it is capable to capture a standardized picture of an entire UV structure. Furthermore, UV photography is relatively fast and able to process the whole series of objects. A camera specially adapted for UV photography due to its broad sensitivity spectrum is equipped with uncoated UV transmitting lenses and special band-stop filters. An artificial light source is used to illuminate objects to be photographed. UV photography may be combined with further methods of image and shape analysis such as Fourier elliptic analysis or geometric morphometrics. These methods allow quantifying the shape comparisons between two or more organismal structures or patterns. Differences in shape can represent differences in functional roles, different response to some environmental stress or differences in developmental growth. This approach was employed in a study dealing with correlations between environmental variables and shape variability of UV pattern in Gonepteryx rhamni. In Eryphanis zolvizora UV pattern was disclosed as an effective reproductive isolation mechanism. Modern methods of image analysis are another indivisible component of UV research. For instance, UV intensity is measured from patches which are delimited by morphologically corresponding elements on the dorsal side of the butterfly wing. This method revealed that large-scale environmental factors affect the intensity of UV reflectance on the forewings in Pieris napi. All these methods are applicable in a wide range of organismal objects and structures.


Stig Storheil /Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate

No Man’s Land – A Study of Photographic Documentation of Norwegian Glaciers 1949 – 1979 / Art and Science
In early photography, science had high expectations that the medium would open up to images that were previously unavailable. Looking into details and layers that had been hidden was a major intention of scientific photography.

In my work, as part of the national research project “Norwegian Photographic History 1940 – 2011”, I look at the documentation of Norwegian glaciers from 1949 to 1979. Monitoring and measurement of glaciers within glaciology and hydrology were initiated based on its potential for hydropower. From day one, photography was used for documentation, analysis and dissemination, but in my review of this material, combined with archival studies and interviews, there are indications that the photographic medium had more uses than purely scientific ones.
Scientific objectivity depends on the actor demonstrating a conscious and knowledge-based relationship with photography. This was not the case with the glacier photographs, where the choice of the recording medium, the facilitation of photographic practice on the glaciers and the use of amateurs in the photographic sense reinforce the basic subjective nature of the photographic medium. Dust, fingerprints, scratches along with esthetics, associations and humour are archived as physical and emotional traces of human activity, at the same time challenging the natural science’s ideal of exact, detailed and realistic imaging.

It’s possible to claim that these glacier photographs are in many ways a no man’s land between science’s demands for objectivity and the embrace of subjectivity in art and documentary photography. Used as apparent support for research work, these documentation images do not meet either the radical science requirements or ideals of subjective interpretation.
Based on the hypothesis that photography as a complex social and cultural construct always will have potential to influence science, also in unexpected ways, I examine the consequences of including the subjective and emotion-based photograph in a scientific context. 


Marthe Tolnes Fjellestad / Perspektivet Museum Tromsø

Photography in the First International Polar Year (IPY-1) / Explorations
In 2007-2008, researchers from 60 nations contributed to the Fourth International Polar Year (IPY-4), one of the largest international scientific collaborations to date. In Norway, a facsimile print was made of the 1885 publication Under Nordlysets Straaler (UNS), by Sophus Tromholt. This richly illustrated book was originally part of the output resulting from the First International Polar Year (IPY-1), organized in 1882-1883 by 12 countries with a focus on meteorology and geophysics.
Taking IPY-1 and UNS as its points of departure, this paper investigates the use of photography in scientific research – specifically polar expeditions – at a time in history when photographic printing technologies were developing rapidly, many of the natural science disciplines and their methodologies were still being established, and the borders between disciplines were flexible, if not exactly multi- or cross-disciplinary.

Combining qualitative empirical investigation with in-depth analyses of IPY-1 publications, the paper seeks to situate photography and its roles in 19th-century natural sciences research endeavours. Questions to be addressed include: Did researchers produce photographs as part of IPY-1, and if so, what kind? Were photographs utilized in researchers’ formal or informal output? Did researchers approach the photographic medium as part of a scientific tool kit, as a means of illustration, or was photography an afterthought? At a time when scholars are increasingly turning their attention to how histories of photography are intertwined with fields such as geography, glaciology, and meteorology, this paper is the first step in a larger analysis of the changing use of photography during the four IPYs to date (1882-1883, 1932-1933, 1957-1958, and 2007-2008).


Jennifer G. Tucker / History & Science in Society, Wesleyan University, Middletown

Photography at the Nexus of Science and Industry / Technologies
Nineteenth-century photography was both the subject of investigative research and a major vehicle for scientific discovery and communication. The term ‘scientific photography’ often invokes a familiar list: dazzling iconic photographs of scientific phenomena – stars, X-rays, bacteria, the moon. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and a more complex picture emerges of the subjects for the study of science and photograph. Historical study of scientific photography is quite as likely to include considerations of the role of photography in scientific experiments, teaching, science popularization, and the investigation of photographic science itself.
My proposed paper submission is based upon my current book research on the Victorian industry, environmental history, and law, a study of the changing role of photography in nineteenth-century scientific and medical investigations of industrial chemical pollution – including pollution caused by material photographic processes. The talk will consider how photography emerged in the late nineteenth-century as both a new mode of documenting the chemical revolution and a technological process that was itself the product of processes that produced chemical waste. Tracing the inter-medial routes through which photography entered the language of Victorian industry, labour movements, and environmental law, this talk offers new evidence of the historical uses of photography in visualizing river and air pollution in the industrial alkali landscapes of northern Britain. Exploring the politics of visual production in the Second Industrial Age suggests the need for new interdisciplinary approaches to visual history and offers historical perspectives on current uses of visually mediated narratives, evidence and documents in environmental law and science policy.
The talk approaches current research on photography and photographic practices as part of broader historiographical developments in nineteenth-century sciences, from public science to technoscience. Taken as a whole, the talk will suggest the importance of photography to the history of nineteenth-century sciences and their intellectual and social formation.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search