photomicrography: line of demarcation

Just bought that first macro lens? Post here to get helpful feedback and answers to any questions you might have.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

Carmen
Posts: 275
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:32 am
Location: Buenos Aires
Contact:

photomicrography: line of demarcation

Post by Carmen »

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!

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3624
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: photomicrography: line of demarcation

Post by Chris S. »

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

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21400
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Carmen, see http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... =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/v ... =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

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3624
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

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

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21400
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

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

Carmen
Posts: 275
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:32 am
Location: Buenos Aires
Contact:

Post by Carmen »

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! :D

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic