Thursday, June 18, 2009

Photography in Science (Reflection paper)

Photography as a scientific tool. I did know about it, but I never thought about it deeply until those readings in the book “The power of the Photography” by Vicki Goldberg. Things, not people are dominated in scientific pictures. But those things are situated in different places: on the Earth or in the Space and inside or outside of a body… Some of them are gigantic and some of them are invisible objects. The most of them are movable and changeable. Those characteristics make difficult to shoot objects. Therefore, some pictures are taken accidentally and some pictures are taken with careful preparations.

Goldberg pointed out historical perspectives of scientific pictures which was very interesting to read. She What she used as a single fact or an example could be a topic of a whole story or book. For instance, how Fox Talbot took pictures through a solar microscope or how Henry Draper photographed the Sun is worth of a book. There might be separate books about those events. Just I wanted to say that Goldberg’s book makes me thirsty for further readings.

The photograph is a lobbyist. The photograph is an evidence. Those were other interesting points described from historical perspective as well. She gave several examples of using photographs in setting up National Parks in America. A set of photos was sent to the President and legislators and they approved the bill. Photos contributed to creation of National Parks because they were “influential scientific report” (p.40).

Another thing I liked in this reading is international perspective in using photography in various field. And I started to think about my country as usual connecting to this subject. As I know American naturalist, explorer and author Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) made expedition to Central Asia at the beginning of the last century. He discovered the first known fossil dinosaur eggs in Mongolia and brought them to the American Museum of Natural History. He was one of the first foreign scientists who took not only pictures of his discoveries but also pictures of ordinary people. Before coming foreigners on the Mongolian land people had no idea about photography. Thanks to those pictures, we know how were Mongolian people a century ago. People were very shy in front of the camera. Even, it seemed, they were scared. As I read in the book, some people thought their spirit was gone with the sound from the camera.


March, 2001

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