History of the Human Sciences 22 (5):81-101 (2009)

Abstract
The invention of photography in the early 19th century changed the way that we see the world, and has played an important role in the development of western science. Notably, photographic vision is implicated in the definition of a new temporal relation to the natural world at the same time as modern biological science emerges as a disciplinary formation. It is this coincidence in birth that is central to this study. I suggest that by examining the relationship of early photography to nature, we can gain some insight into the technological and epistemological underpinnings of biological vision. To this end, this article is primarily concerned with the role of photographic technology in the genealogy of biological vision. I argue that photography has always been ambiguously located between art and science, between nature and culture, and between life and death. Hence, while it may be a technological expression of the scientific desire to know and to control nature, photographic vision has continually disrupted and frustrated the ambitions of biological technoscience. The technovision of early biological science illustrates that the elusive temporality of nature has always been central to the production of knowledge of life
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DOI 10.1177/0952695109345401
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Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision.David Michael Levin (ed.) - 1993 - University of California Press.

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