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We know about many places we have never visited via photographs. Many of those photographs could be described as tourist or travel photography, a category that extends from traveller’s pictures to those commissioned by tourist boards and travel companies. Sara Dominici outlines the development of this genre, from surprisingly early on in the history of photography to the present day, and shows that these images are as much a product of market forces as anyone’s desire to learn about the world. We might have more confidence in science as a foundation for our knowledge. If you are not a scientist then you could come to understand scientific insights via images, in particular those generated by recent technologies like MRI scanners, Electron Microscopes and the latest telescopes, all of which show us things that would otherwise be invisible to us. The Science Photo Library was set up to distribute these images to a market beyond the narrow scientific literature that they were originally created for. Rose Taylor, the Creative Director, explains how these images circulate and what transformation they undego to reach a general public.
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