Exploring the Art and Science of Photography

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This exhibition presents photographic experiments in motion studies, microphotography, and X-rays as well as artists who use science as a creative tool. The photographers represented here are pioneers and innovators who were able to integrate art and science into their work.

Photography proved it could capture permanent images more precisely than an artist’s hands. Yet, as soon as the early scientists discovered this image making process, others began to experiment with the abilities of the camera to capture a precise moment. Early motion images showed pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages frozen in unusual postures. The mechanics of the camera would further evolve to capture what the eye could not see.

Artists and scientists both strive to better understand the world around us. Soon after its invention, photography became a tool to feed a desire for facts and increased scientific understanding. Photography processes captured new forms of visual information and allowed for the world to be closely dissected.

Photographs of scientific specimens, which revealed surface structures of animal and nature forms, were able to significantly impact a number of photographers. Distinguished by a neutral presentation and emphasis on discovering structure, these images share some of the characteristics associated with scientific inquiry.

These first images exemplify their respective process’ ability to create accurate representations of the subject. Whether used as a document, or admired for their beauty, these images represent the inherent relationship of science and art working together to introduce a new visual medium.

Funding for this project was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a donation from PhotoWings.