This article examines the work of the Japanese mathematician and photographer Shigeru Onishi (1928--1994) and his topologically inspired photographic experiments. It asks how his painterly play with emulsion and coloration is a visual exploration of questions of process and continuous transformation, and how these experiments can be understood in relation to more general discussions of mathematical and artistic “ways of knowing”. Building on ideas introduced by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his work on the late Cézanne, the article introduces the concept of topological vision to describe and account for a particular way of seeing that considers the continually coming-into-being of a photographic motif.

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