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HologramsA Cultural History$
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Sean F. Johnston

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712763.001.0001

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Scientific Imagery and Visual Novelty

Scientific Imagery and Visual Novelty

(p.11) 2 Scientific Imagery and Visual Novelty

Sean F. Johnston

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how visual culture was influenced by a cluster of sciences and industries at the turn of the twentieth century, setting the stage for popular engagement and an audience for further optical inventions. Photography created not just technologies of imaging, but also new professionals, enthusiasts and audiences. The new cultural experiences provided by optical technologies conditioned viewers. Creators and wider publics developed a taste for visual novelty and perpetual innovation. The photographs and stereoscopes that captivated Victorian consumers pioneered many of the applications later pursued with holograms. The epitome of this melding of science and spectacle was the Lippmann photograph, but it had a poor reception. It was a precursor, and sobering prelude, to the popular reaction to holograms a half-century later.

Keywords:   optical science, commercial research, stereoscopes, Lippmann photography, professional scientists, audiences, history of photography, Victorian, Edwardian

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