ABSTRACT

The author analyzes the visual similarities between early astronomy images and advanced practices such as produced by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). While 19th-century images generally were supposed to match what an observer could see if s/he were standing behind the telescope, HST public outreach images are not based on any such match, yet such images resemble photographs that do aim to represent what we see. This paper attempts to explain the insistence on producing images that appear to represent visible phenomena. Emphasizing the ways in which non-reproductive photographs deploy conventions that were originally utilized in reproductive photography, the paper seeks to add to the existing literature concerning the non-reproductive capacities of photography.

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