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photomicrography: line of demarcation

 
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Carmen



Joined: 10 Feb 2015
Posts: 273
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:38 pm    Post subject: photomicrography: line of demarcation Reply with quote

With an eye to improving my english, I consulted PHOTOMICROGRAPH in the Oxford dictionary: "A photograph of a microscopic object, taken with the aid of a microscope."

But does a photograph taken with the aid of a microscope objective still qualify as a proper PHOTOMICROGRAPH? If not, what does one call such a photograph? Where is the line of demarcation between photograph and photomicrograph?

If this issue has already been properly discussed, then please direct me to the pertinent thread. If not, I appeal to your considerable collective wisdom on this matter.

thank you!
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 2729
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: photomicrography: line of demarcation Reply with quote

Carmen wrote:
But does a photograph taken with the aid of a microscope objective still qualify as a proper PHOTOMICROGRAPH? If not, what does one call such a photograph?

Personally, I think that the best thing to call it depends on the situation.

Here on our fora, we classify images as photomicrographs or photomacrographs based on the techniques used to make them. So for our purposes, an image made using a microscope objective on a rig that is not standard microscope should usually be considered a photomacrograph. This is because here, we are very interested in how the image is made; grouping images made on standard microscopes separately from those made on non-traditional rigs helps simplify and clarify these discussions.

But for other purposes, it is quite correct to call a macro rig that uses a microscope objective a "simple microscope." For example, the Nikon Small World competition is for images taken with microscopes. I once contacted the competition's officials to ask if my macro rig, the Bratcam, qualifies as a microscope under their rules. Yes, it does.

--Chris
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17873
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carmen, see http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4943#4943 for discussion of the Oxford English Dictionary definitions. But it turns out that OED doesn't contain the earliest use. Page 2 of the thread, at http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9658#9658, is where I finally tracked down the publication that originally introduced the term photo-macrography. It has been reported to OED, and hopefully they'll include it in their next revision (probably a decade or more in the future).

You'll probably find the whole thread to be interesting reading.

--Rik
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To anyone who finds such historical word hunts interesting, I recommend a fascinating book: The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.

I've long had a conjecture about why people in the Victorian era cared so to distinguish between doing "photomicrography" and "microphotography." The difference, I suspect, was in connotation, between making scientific images and pornographic ones. See the Kinsey Institute adds to its Stanhope collection of microscopic erotica (especially the brief video) and Royalty, Espionage, and Erotica: Secrets of the World's Tiniest Photographs from Collectors' Weekly. Note: Both links contain antique images of nudity, so may not be safe for work.

So far as I know, there was no similarly-compelling reason to distinguish whether one was a photomacrographer and macro photographer.

--Chris
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris S. wrote:
I've long had a conjecture about why people in the Victorian era cared so to distinguish between doing "photomicrography" and "microphotography."
...
So far as I know, there was no similarly-compelling reason to distinguish whether one was a photomacrographer and macro photographer.

Fascinating! That explanation certainly has the ring of truth.

--Rik
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Carmen



Joined: 10 Feb 2015
Posts: 273
Location: Buenos Aires

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Chris S.! Thank you for your considered opinion. I completely ignored the term photomacrograph thank you! The links referred to are interesting -I love history!

Regarding the term microphotography, as I understand the term, it primarily referred to miniaturization of large images. Think of the process of reducing large diagrams, maps, documents to more manageable size films: microfilm, microfiche, come to mind. I suspect this definition of the term is rapidly becoming dated, given improved photographic methods, etc.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/microphotograph


Hello Rik! Thank you for directing my attention to that thread, I expect to read it tommorrow during lunch. I appreciate your independent initiative to investigate these things.

EDIT: I just read through the suggested threads and I can recommend them. The discussion of terms, clarifications and corrections are greatly appreciated! Thank you! Very Happy
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