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Darwin's Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution Hardcover – October 22, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195150315 ISBN-10: 0195150317 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (October 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195150317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195150315
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Phillip Prodger...does a magnificent job of tracing and explaining Darwin's illustrations, giving great detail about the sources of the pictures and their background, indeed the general background of the whole business of picture taking when Darwin was putting together his work."--Michael Ruse, Reports of the National Center for Science Education

"Darwin's Camera breaks new ground in the history of photography, Victorian visual culture, and Darwin studies. Prodger offers an empirically rich study that sheds light on Darwin's innovative use of the new medium of photograhpy, both as evidence and illustration for his groundbreaking theories....Valuable to historians of science and art, as well as to students of photography and the emerging field of the history of emotions."--Jennifer Tucker, Victorian Studies

"An important book of serious scholarship...based on excellent research and detailed readings of Darwin's works, and it offers a detailed account of how one scientist negotiated the potential of photographs which will stand for many years."--Elizabeth Edwards, etudes photographiques

"Darwin's Camera is well written and nicely produced. Prodger...takes on a novel topic and ultimately says as much about creative thinking, experimental work, and an imaginative mind as he does about Darwin."--Amy Ione, Leonardo

"Prodger aims to establish Darwin as far more visually educated than he has often been argued to be ... By drawing attention to the unstable status of scientific photography in the 1870s, his book is a reminder that far too many have dismissed the possible scientific value of Darwin's work on anachronistic grounds."--Sadiah Qureshi, caa.reviews

"Darwin's Camera is an engagingly literate survey of the intersection between evolutionary theory and photographic technology at a time of accelerated development for both."--Ted Scheinman, Washington City Paper

"Prodger narrates a fascinating exposition of the dawn of scientific photography."--Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works

"Once again Phillip Prodger has explored photography's childhood and found there a network of hitherto unexamined meanings and connections that enrich our knowledge not only of the medium but of science, technology, and culture at large. Darwin's Camera rethinks both the father of evolutionary theory and the evolution of the medium Darwin adapted to his needs. Fascinating, lucid, and beautifully researched, the book is a major contribution to the history of photography in context."--Rebecca Solnit, author of River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

"In this lucid, nuanced account, Prodger introduces visual and literary documents with archaeological precision to unearth Darwin's groundbreaking use of photography in his work. This book is a terrific read and an essential volume for any library that specializes in nineteenth-century art and scholarship."--Julian Cox, Curator of Photography, High Museum of Art

"This illuminating book full of amazing insights into Darwin and the development and use of photography, is clearly written with engaging charm. Not just for the specialist, it will engage anyone concerned with history, photography, science in general and Darwin in particular, and the use of illustration in book production."--Paul Ekman, co-author (with Dalai Lama) of Emotional Awareness

"Phillip Prodger brings his deep knowledge of the history of photography to reveal Darwin's innovative use of the medium as both evidence and illustration for his ground-breaking theories. This is a scholarly and entertaining account of how Darwin played a surprising role in shaping the visual culture of his time." --Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum

"Offering a fascinating examination of the process Darwin employed in collecting photographs to illustrate his study of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Prodger elegantly interweaves two complex narratives. Replete with a multitude of telling anecdotes, Darwin's Camera is an important contribution both to the history of science and to the history of photography."--Bernard Barryte, Curator of European Art, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University

"A revealing new book."--Ewen Callaway, New Scientist

"It's hard to find a new angle on Charles Darwin, but Darwin's Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution does just that."--New York Times

"Darwin's Camera is a detailed study of [Darwin's] use of photography. But mainly it's just fun to flip through and look at the wacky people."--National Public Radio

About the Author

Philip Prodger is Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the author of E. O. Hoppé's Amerika: Modernist Photographs from the 1920s; Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement (OUP 2003) and co-editor of Impressionist Camera: Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm not a Darwin expert, nor did I know a whole lot about early photography before taking a look at this book, but a quick flip through these pages drew me in right away. The photos are amazing, and the writing is clear and interesting. Who knew Darwin was a such an important guy even beyond the Origin of Species? Good stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald F. Reynolds on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a really interesting read looking into the history of photography and how it came to be used in scientific publishing as well as providing insight into the diverse interests of Charles Darwin. Written in a scholarly manner with numerous footnotes and a solid bibliography it is nevertheless understandable to a layman and holds one's attention; not at all dry.
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