The role of photography and film has often been relegated to that of illustration, yet its uses – as a visual record, in scientific research, education and travelogues – have been varied and at times ingenious.
From experimentation with technologies in extreme environments (telephoto lenses, glass plate negatives, flashlight photography, chrono-photography, photomicrography, cinematography) to the practices that have emerged through ethnographic studies, meteorology, astronomy, oceanography, cartography and the documentation of wildlife, the mediation of photography and film has made otherwise inaccessible geographies visible. Yet, this ‘window’ on to the world is constructed, it is made using materials and techniques which tell a story: from a physical trace of the environment to a record of scientific and cultural practices. This interdisciplinary conference examines the history of maritime exploration through film, photography and photographers, scientific techniques, artistic practices and in the mediation and display of museum collections for exhibition: from photographic materials and technologies to the darkroom practices that shape visual representations and underpin or counter voyage narratives.
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