Reasoned and Unreasoned Images: The Photography of Bertillon, Galton, and Marey (Paperback)
  • Reasoned and Unreasoned Images: The Photography of Bertillon, Galton, and Marey (Paperback)

Reasoned and Unreasoned Images: The Photography of Bertillon, Galton, and Marey (Paperback)

Paperback 280 Pages / Published: 15/11/2013
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In the last decades of the nineteenth century, photography underwent one of the most momentous transformations in its history, a renegotiation of the camera's relationship to the visible world. Reasoned and Unreasoned Images considers in detail the work of three photographic investigators who developed new uses for the medium that centered on "the photography of the invisible": Alphonse Bertillon, Francis Galton, and Etienne-Jules Marey. Bertillon attempted to establish a "science of identity" by making photographic records of criminal bodies. Galton may be said to have taken photographs of ideas: he sought to create accurate yet abstract images of such entities as "the criminal" and "the lunatic." And Marey, a physiologist, created photographic visualizations of nonvisible events-the positions through which bodies pass so quickly that they cannot be seen. Ellenbogen approaches the work of these photographers as a means to develop new theoretical perspectives on questions of broad interest in the humanities: the relation of photographs to the world and their use as agents of knowledge, the intersections between artistic and scientific images, the place of painting and drawing in photography's historical employment, and the use of imaging technologies in systems of social control and surveillance.

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271053264
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 20 mm


"Reasoned and Unreasoned Images is a fascinating discussion of photography in the second half of the nineteenth century. Josh Ellenbogen raises interesting questions concerning the nature of evidence that are still being discussed in current work on the philosophy of science and, in particular, the philosophy of experiment. In short, this is a first-rate piece of scholarship, with the additional bonus that it is a good read."

-Allan D. Franklin, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Josh Ellenbogen offers a truly unique treatment of the nature of scientific uses of photography at the turn of the nineteenth century, one that will certainly be debated but whose value will lie in the specificity of its analysis and the originality of its argument. This will be an influential book, dealing with many contemporary issues in our understanding of photographic evidence and revealing their historical background. It has already influenced my own thinking."

-Tom Gunning, University of Chicago

"Josh Ellenbogen's Reasoned and Unreasoned Images provides a significant theoretical discussion of photography's aim to capture the visible and nonvisible and, more widely, of its complex relation to human perception, cognition, and memory. . . .

[T]he journey the reader undertakes is guided by thought-provoking questions through a series of chapters that progressively build upon the previous one to form a layered work of interwoven arguments that cannot easily be pulled apart."

-Tania Woloshyn, CAA Reviews

"As an intellectual history of a period scientific use of photography, Reasoned and Unreasoned Images is a rich and thorough account. There is much to be learned from its careful unpacking of the intellectual correspondences of Bertillon, Galton, and Marey and the development of a scientific understanding of photography and vision that resulted."

-Blake Stimson, History of Photography

"[This] book is an instructive and useful read and serves the purpose of bringing together the philosophy of experiment and period photographic theory, with fascinating results."

-Kelley Wilder, Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society

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