Documenting The World: Film, Photography, And The Scientific Record

Hardcover | December 20, 2016

EditorGregg Mitman, Kelley Wilder

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Imagine the twentieth century without photography and film. Its history would be absent of images that define historical moments and generations: the death camps of Auschwitz, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Apollo lunar landing. It would be a history, in other words, of just artists’ renderings and the spoken and written word. To inhabitants of the twenty-first century, deeply immersed in visual culture, such a history seems insubstantial, imprecise, and even, perhaps, unscientific.

Documenting the World is about the material and social life of photographs and film made in the scientific quest to document the world. Drawing on scholars from the fields of art history, visual anthropology, and science and technology studies, the chapters in this book explore how this documentation—from the initial recording of images, to their acquisition and storage, to their circulation—has altered our lives, our ways of knowing, our social and economic relationships, and even our surroundings. Far beyond mere illustration, photography and film have become an integral, transformative part of the world they seek to show us.

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Imagine the twentieth century without photography and film. Its history would be absent of images that define historical moments and generations: the death camps of Auschwitz, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Apollo lunar landing. It would be a history, in other words, of just artists’ renderings and the spoken and written wor...

Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes, Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film, and The State of Nature: Ecol...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 20, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022612911X

ISBN - 13:9780226129112

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“This is an innovative and exciting collection of essays. The contributors’ perceptive treatment of three key themes—the documentary image as evidence, the circulation and recirculation of images, and the histories and meanings of image archives—provides original insights into the documentary impulse and its cultural and material significance. Documenting the World presents cutting-edge research that will advance history of photography and film scholarship in novel and significant ways for years to come.”