Revelations ran from 20 March – 13 September 2015
Visitors discovered the influence of early scientific photography on modern and contemporary art in this major new exhibition, featuring some of the rarest images from the pioneers of photography.
From the 1840s, scientists were using photography to record and measure phenomena which lay beyond human vision. The beauty of these early images and the revolutionary techniques developed for scientific study, shaped the history of photography and heavily influenced modern and contemporary art photographers.
Revelations showcased some of the earliest photographic images from the National Photography Collection by figures such as William Henry Fox Talbot and Eadweard Muybridge alongside striking works by modern and contemporary artists including Harold Edgerton and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
On display for the very first time was an original photographic print of X-Ray, the earliest recorded images of the moon and 19th century photographs capturing the hidden beauty of electrical discharges.
Revelations: Experiments in Photography revealed the untold history of how early scientific photography exerted a powerful influence on the work of modern and contemporary artists.
***** 'The Victorian photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot described his work as “a little bit of magic realised”. He could have been describing this magnificent exhibition.’ – Evening Standard
‘The ambition and curiosity of the early work is staggering.’ – Financial Times
1. Blow Up: Untitled 1, 2007, Ori Gersht © Ori Gersht, Private Collection
2. Chronophotograph of a Man Clearing a Hurdle, c.1892, Étienne Jules Marey © National Science and Media Museum, SSPL
3. Negative Discharge, 1892, Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton © National Science and Media Museum, SSPL
4. Bullet Through Lemon, c. 1955 - Color ©Harold Edgerton, MIT, 2015, courtesy of Palm Press, Inc.
5. Insect wings, c.1840. William Henry Fox Talbot © National Science and Media Museum, SSPL