Introduction: Moments of science
Photography and the understanding of nature
The search for certainty in a world that is often so binary – where choosing between two options seems to be the better (and simpler) alternative – gives meaning to the expression «a picture is worth a thousand words». But if we are running away from simplicity, why choose between the two?
Since the advent of photography, the scientific community has had a tool with which to provide objective knowledge that had previously been recorded and shared through words (both oral and written) and illustrations. It thus became a key tool for constantly pushing back the frontiers of our understanding of nature. Despite its success and potential, photography continues to be overlooked by some in the scientific community.
This monograph navigates through the history of photography and science. It shows how great historical figures such as Charles Darwin saw photography as a powerful ally. It also highlights some of the ways in which photography is used in contemporary scientific activity. It is quite striking to consider how transversal and necessary the contribution of photography has been – and will continue to be – to the advancement of science.