Scientists, Artists and Artisans: the Making of Holographic Communities

Johnston, S. F. (2005) Scientists, Artists and Artisans: the Making of Holographic Communities. Royal Photographic Society Holography Group meeting, London, UK, 30 Apr 2005. (Unpublished)

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Over the past 58 years, holography has been recast as a subject time and again, and has been taken up by new communities. The word ‘holography’ first came into common use in 1966, and the term ‘holographer’ began to circulate soon afterward. But the definition of the holographer was reshaped over the next decade by different environments and goals. While Dennis Gabor and a handful of workers had explored the possibilities of wavefront reconstruction until the mid 1950s, it was workers in classified laboratories that created more successful versions of the subject. The explosion of interest following the work of Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks at the Willow Run Laboratories in Michigan led to waves of military funding for the new technique. Until the late 1960s, holographers were largely State-supported and academically trained. At that time, however, the subject began to be appropriated by new communities: by a handful of artists working with academic and industrial scientists to explore the aesthetic possibilities of the medium, and by artisans self-consciously developing new methods. It was the interactions between these communities that created the more stable and popular subject of the 1980s and beyond.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnston, Professor Sean
Authors: Johnston, S. F.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > TR Photography
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
339051Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonThe Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (CARNEGIE)UNSPECIFIEDIS - INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES
339052Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonBritish Academy (BRIT-ACAD)SG-34511IS - INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES
339053Holography, holographers, and their historySean JohnstonShearwater Foundation (SHEARWATER)UNSPECIFIEDIS - INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES