Brought to Light Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900 Corey Keller, Jennifer Tucker, Tom Gunning, Maren Groning, Marie-Sophie Corcy, Carole Troufleau-Sandrin, Erin O'Toole
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- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Publication date:
- 30 Sep 2008
- 208 pages: 257 x 229 x 28mm
- 200 colour illustrations
Brought to Light invites readers to step back to a time when photography, X-rays, and movies were new, when forays into the world beneath the skin or the realm beyond our everyday vision captivated scientists and the public alike. In this book, accounts of scientific experimentation blend with stories of showmanship to reveal how developments in 19th-century technology could enlighten as well as frighten and amaze. Through a series of 200 vintage images--produced by photographers, scientists, and amateur inventors--this book ultimately traces the rise of popular science. The images demonstrate early experiments with microscopes, telescopes, electricity and magnetism, motion studies, X-rays and radiation, and spirit photography. We learn how these pictures circulated among the public, whether through the press, world's fairs, or theaters. What started out as scientific progress, however, often took on the trappings of magic and superstition, as photography was enlisted to offer visual evidence of clairvoyance, spirits, and other occult influences. With beautifully reproduced plates and engaging narratives, this book embodies the aesthetic pleasures and excitement of the tale it tells.
Corey Keller is associate curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Jennifer Tucker is associate professor of History at Wesleyan University. Tom Gunning is professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. Maren Groning is Curator of the Photographic Collection at the Albertina Museum, Vienna.
ÒÉin default of visiting the exhibition itself, the book is a splendid exposition of the role of photography in this exciting era, and the accompanying essays provide an excellent historical background.Ó - Graham Saxby, Royal Photographic Society Journal
ÔÉ [an] exquisite book.Õ - çngel Gurr’a-Quintana, Financial Times
"[This catalog] unearths rare 19th-century scientific prints, everything from an x-ray of a snake digesting a frog to pictures of electricity that could have been taken in Dr. Frankenstein's lab."ÑRichard B. Woodward, Wall Street Journal
"This beautifully designed book/catalogue offers a wonderful visual experience. Readers will discover a surprising aesthetic sensibility in much of the work originally intended to visualize invisible phenomena. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and up."ÑChoice
Received First Prize for the 2009 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition in the category of Exhibition Catalogues.
Short-listed for the 2009 And/Or Photography Book Award sponsored by the Krazsna-Krausz Foundation.
"Gorgeous. . . . Beautiful and engaging catalogue." —Marta Braun, Victorian Studies