Photography and Science

With the advent of modern technology, our view of the world is becoming wider. Science in particular offers new avenues for discovery. Photography seems the natural medium for capturing these advances, and providing illustrative representation of phenomena etc.

There is the idea of where does an image stop being, scientific and technical and become 'Art'?

Is this possible to even say?

What 20th Century art is not influenced by modern science?  - James Elkins

 title page of Aaron Scharf's Art and Photography

title page of Aaron Scharf's Art and Photography

 Susan Derges Vessel No. 3

Susan Derges Vessel No. 3

Many scientific techniques, lend themselves to artistic interpretation. These can be diagnostic, or illustrative, in the case of x rays, microscopes, soundwaves, and dna testing

or documentative, such as anthropological images, in the 'Family of Man', astronomy photographs and cataloguing of genus classifications. 

In these situations within the gray blurred area between art and science the artist is able to use the tecniques

But remember that I am controlling and using for my own purposes the means of reproduction needed for these programmes [...] with this programme as with all programmes, you receive images and meanings which are arranged. I hope you will consider what I arrange but please remain skeptical of it.

This describes perfectly the skills of any artist, the use of materials, media, and technologies, appropriating from them, what is needed in pursuit of their art. In this case John Burger is describing the editing process of the TV series, Ways of seeing. This order if changed would give a totally different point of view to the facts being presented. the same is true for any art, the photograph in colour vs Black and White, landscape vs Portrait, the painter depicting greens with certain hues that are similar vs the one who expands their pallet. All of this opens up the interpretation of the image to question, It starts to fuse the artists point of view with the work, then this is then decoded by the viewer, in to what may be a completely different interpretation, which may be completely at odds with the original intent (if such a thing exists)

To try to capture fleeting mirror images,” it said, “is not just an impossible undertaking, as has been established after thorough German investigation; the very wish to do such a thing is blasphemous. Man is made in the image of God, and God’s image cannot be captured by any machine of human devising. The utmost the artist may venture, borne on the wings of divine inspiration, is to reproduce man’s God-given features without the help of any machine, in the moment of highest dedication, at the higher bidding of his genius.”

Walter Benjimin.

This idea, brings to light the discordance between the digital and the analogue, between the machine created and the man created.