There is a theory that we process more information in one day than an illiterate person in the 18th century would in their entire life. And although we are accustomed to processing what must be thousands of images on a daily basis, we hardly ever have the time to examine where or how a recognisable image or aesthetic came from.
Insect Wings, c.1840, William Henry Fox Talbot © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL
Despite being intrinsically linked as processes, the time and effort photographers like William Henry Fox Talbot and Eadweard Muybridge had to put into taking and developing photographs – let alone what they look like – seems almost entirely foreign to the process of mobile phone photography today. Let alone the reasonings behind the photographs they were taking.
X Ray of Angelfish & Surgeonfish, 1896, Eduard Valenta & Josef Maria Eder © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL
Revelations: Experiments in Photography
at the Science Museum
in London examines the huge influence that early scientific photography has had on photography as a contemporary art form, both technically and aesthetically. We may be used to seeing staggering images all of the time, however, seeing them curated and in context with art photography today shows that although an enormous volume of images and aesthetics may be familiar to us, there is a huge amount more to know. The show includes an original print of X.ray – the first time ever one of its kind has been on display.
Untitled [Fumées - plan normal à la direction du courant (smoke)] Étienne Jules Marey, 1901, courtesy of Cinémathèque Française, Paris
A book featuring essays by Burbridge and Hobson alongside Ian Jeffrey, Dr Kelley Wilder and Prof. Gottfried Jäger will be published by MACK to accompany the exhibition. RRP £35 www.mackbooks.co.uk
Top Image: Bullet through Apple, 1964 - Color © Harold Edgerton, MIT, 2015, courtesy of Palm Press, Inc.