Science + Photography = Nerdy Awesomeness

If you’re a friend of SF Love Story here, you probably already know that Jack, my love, is a scientist. What you may not know is that he works in Electron Microscopy Scanning (EMS). In plain English, Jack develops super-power ninja microscopes that take images (scans not photographs, people) of super-teeny-tiny things like, oh I don’t know, viruses. Rad.

The funny/adorable thing is that when given a regular ol’ photographic camera, Jack still manages to find little things to shoot. I guess minature rubber duckies and bouncy balls must seem enormous to him.

Anyway, what this is all leading up to is an exhibition at the SFMOMA that appears to be made for Jack (and anyone else who loves this kind-of nerdy wonderfulness). So, let’s go to this:

Josef Maria Eder and Eduard Valenta Chamaeleon cristatus, 1896

Josef Maria Eder and Eduard Valenta "Chamaeleon cristatus, 1896"

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

at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Saturday, October 11, 2008 – Sunday, January 04, 2009

Modern science and photography flowered simultaneously in the early 19th century, and photography was adopted as a scientific tool from the first years of its invention. Over the course of the century, scientists made pictures using the microscope and the telescope, capturing previously hidden realms both infinitesimally small and unimaginably large. They used photography to analyze motion, to see into faraway galaxies, and to look inside the human body. Brought to Light includes examples of early scientific (and pseudoscientific) photography and considers what it meant in the 19th century to “see” photographically. Equally importantly, the exhibition invites you to imagine what pictures of the invisible might have meant at a time when the worlds revealed by contemporary technologies such as satellite imaging and PET scans were utterly unimaginable.

Òtienne-Léopold Trouvelot Direct electric sparks obtained with a Ruhmkorff coil or Wimshurst machine, also known as Trouvelot Figures, ca. 1888

Òtienne-Léopold Trouvelot Direct electric sparks obtained with a Ruhmkorff coil or Wimshurst machine, also known as "Trouvelot Figures", ca. 1888

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