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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  History of Science & Nature

Picturing Ecology Photography and the Birth of a New Science

By: Damian Hughes(Author)
491 pages, 46 colour & 51 b/w illustrations
Publisher: Palgrave
Picturing Ecology
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  • Picturing Ecology ISBN: 9789811925146 Hardback Aug 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • Picturing Ecology ISBN: 9789811925177 Paperback Aug 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Selected version: £109.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This book examines the role of photography and visual culture in the emergence of ecological science between 1895 and 1939.

- Offers a new perspective on how ecological science developed
- Illuminates photography’s role in shaping new forms of knowledge
- Informed by the author’s own experience as a field ecologist, photographer and photohistorian.


1 Ecological history, visual science and photography
2 New Natural Landscapes: Nature tracing its own shape
3 Expanding the Field: Making Associations
4 Picturing Vegetation: The print cultures of ecology
5 Hidden in plain sight: Visual knowledge and ecological method
6 Taking to the Field: Exchanging objects/exchanging views
7 Conclusion: Ecology and photography as visual field science

Customer Reviews


Dr Damian Hughes is an independent researcher and photo historian with 25 years of experience as a practising field ecologist.

By: Damian Hughes(Author)
491 pages, 46 colour & 51 b/w illustrations
Publisher: Palgrave
Media reviews

"Picturing Ecology is a must-read for scholars of visual culture in the sciences, providing an inside-out account of the social, material, and highly visual practices of photography and ecology as they emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Damian Hughes takes his reader on a journey, from the observation of plants in 19th century botany, to the 20th century observation of 'plant communities', and the development of an 'ecological eye'. It makes for compelling reading, and will change the way we think about embedded and embodied practices of photography in the sciences."
– Kelley Wilder, Professor of Photographic History, De Montfort University, UK

"In this beautifully written and deeply researched book, Damian Hughes has achieved something remarkable. He has provided no less than an authoritative history of the formation of ecology in Great Britain that also demonstrates the integral role played by photography in this formation. Significantly, Hughes shows us in detail how photography was negotiated and integrated into scientific practice. This work is a major contribution that is bound to be a standard go-to for future historians of ecology and photography."
– Omar W. Nasim, Professor of History of Science, University of Regensburg, Germany

"This insightful and deeply researched book shows how the photograph became a vital tool for understanding the interactions of the living world, recording associations, connections, and ephemeral traces. With a background in ecology, photography, and history, Damian Hughes is ideally qualified to open up fresh perspectives on the significance of visual practices for the making of scientific disciplines."
– James A. Secord FBA, Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

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