Brought to Light.
Photography and the Invisible, 1840-1900.

Edited by Corey Keller; essays by Jennifer Tucker, Tom Gunning, and Maren Gröning.
Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008. 208 pp., 200 color illustrations., 9½x11¾".

Publisher's Description
Brought to Light invites readers to step back to a time when photography, X-rays, and movies were new, when forays into the world beneath the skin or the realm beyond our everyday vision captivated scientists and the public alike. In this book, accounts of scientific experimentation blend with stories of showmanship to reveal how developments in 19th-century technology could enlighten as well as frighten and amaze. Through a series of 200 vintage images—produced by photographers, scientists, and amateur inventors—this book ultimately traces the rise of popular science.

The images demonstrate early experiments with microscopes, telescopes, electricity and magnetism, motion studies, X-rays and radiation, and spirit photography. We learn how these pictures circulated among the public, whether through the press, world’s fairs, or theaters. What started out as scientific progress, however, often took on the trappings of magic and superstition, as photography was enlisted to offer visual evidence of clairvoyance, spirits, and other occult influences.

With beautifully reproduced plates and engaging narratives, this book embodies the aesthetic pleasures and excitement of the tale it tells.

Read Richard Gordon's review of Brought to Light in photo-eye Magazine.


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