Reading Nature, Observing Science: Examining Material Practices in the Lick Observatory Archives and Kenneth S. Norris PapersMain MenuIntroduction to the Lick Observatory ArchivesThe Lick Observatory: Imaging the CosmosThe Lick Observatory: Eclipse ExpeditionsEclipse Intro page (first in a path)Introduction to Kenneth S. Norris PapersKenneth S. Norris Papers: Natural History in PracticeKenneth S. Norris Papers: Pedagogy and ConservationConnections: In Relation to NatureThese images demonstrate the different constructions of nature in the two archivesConnections: Materials of ObservationVisualization of the ConnectionsVisualizes the connections between all the contentReading Nature, Observing ScienceCaptions and information for the cases of objects on display at UCSC Special CollectionsAlex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ceDanielle Crawford22ce6a14f83c9ff73c3545a665951a092258f08e
Objectivity and Aesthetics
12016-06-07T19:32:38-07:00Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ce91843plain2016-06-07T19:43:00-07:00Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ceThese documents and images displayed in these paths ask us to consider whether observing the cosmos is an inherently aesthetic experience that colors even the most objective efforts at observation and representation. We see astronomers working between two methods of recording the cosmos--illustration and photography. In their scrapbooks and copybooks, we sense an aesthetic impulse to record the beauty of the cosmos alongside its mathematical and physical properties. In their letters to photogravure companies, we see them constructing ideas about what celestial bodies should look like, often speaking of the images they want to produce in terms of aesthetic expectations and preferences. The desire for visually stunning images often mediates the effort to produce objective pieces of data. Accordingly, we see that these supposedly objective photographic images often embed an affective reaction to the cosmos, such as awe, or the experience of sublimity described by nineteenth-century philosophers of nature. These documents and images also speak to the way in which the ideal of pure objectivity is negotiated by the material conditions and limitations of the camera and of the printing process.
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1media/ua0036_glp_0809_shutteropen.jpeg2016-05-04T11:50:09-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6The Lick Observatory: Imaging the CosmosChristine Turk38splash2016-06-17T12:20:48-07:00Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ce