Faculty member Marvin Heiferman's project, Seeing Science featured on Hyperallergic

The Many Forms and Meanings of the Scientific Image Seeing Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is a yearlong online project that explores photography’s role in defining, promoting, and furthering science.

Page from Photographs of British Algae (1843) by Anna Atkins (courtesy the New York Public Library)

Page from Photographs of British Algae (1843) by Anna Atkins (courtesy the New York Public Library)

Seeing Science is a yearlong online project from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), with the Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture (CADVC). Curated and produced by Marvin Heiferman, it’s a portal for the diverse roles and influences of the scientific image. “Part of what interested me is, I started out doing lots of art and museum exhibitions, but what fascinated me about science imaging in particular is its consequentiality,” Heiferman told Hyperallergic. “The active nature of images, the active role that images play in shaping culture, is what I think science images are doing more and more.”

Carl Strüwe, Archetype of Individuality (1933).  Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York 1 /2

Carl Strüwe, Archetype of Individuality (1933).  Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York 1 /2

For example, artist Oliver Wasow’s Picturing Science involves groups of themed images from online sources, including scientist biopics and remote wildlife photography. Short essays from contributors working in the arts, humanities, and sciences cover such subjects as early films that featured science and technology, the historic relationship between science photography and art museums, and Berenice Abbott’s photographs for scientific publications. Weekly mini-exhibitions have recently highlighted Nick Bowers’s 2014 series Scared Scientists, for which he asked his subjects to contemplate the implications of their findings; Nancy Burson’s pioneering 1970s experiments with MIT engineers to morph faces to simulate aging; and Thomas W. Smillie’s 19th-century shots as the first official photographer at the Smithsonian. Ultimately, a book will be published with some of the material in Seeing Science.

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