Abstract- Rosana Horio Monteiro

(full paper) http://hdl.handle.net/10002/433

Art and Science Playing on the Margins. On the discovery of photography in the 19th century Brazil.

The investigation reported here examines the relationship between art and science around the discovery of photography. It concerns an original photographic process developed in Brazil during the 19th century by Frenchman Hercule Florence. This process was produced in 1833 independently and simultaneously to other processes developed with the same aim elsewhere such as the daguerreotype in France and the calotype in England. New ideas to solve a common ‘problem’ are often reported in science and technology by two or more researchers at the same time. Such events are known as multiple discoveries or, simply, multiples. Photography is studied in this work as a particular case of multiple, similarly to many other scientific discoveries and technological innovations. Based on a detailed reconstruction of Florence’s process, our aim is to find out the factors that shaped this process and made it possible inside (and despite) the local peripheral circumstances.
Photography in Brazil was part of a context created on the margins by a cultural exchange that has grown during 19th century Brazil. This included the print of newspapers with translations of foreign scientific papers, the arrival of European travellers, the import of books, the immigration of artists and scientists - such as Langsdorff. We argue that independent of the context, the daguerreotype, the calotype, and Florence’s process were produced as techniques of representation to fulfil new image demands. In Europe, these were mostly created by a new social reality. On the contrary, in Brazil, they came from Florence’s need to develop techniques of image reproduction to make public his drawings produced during the Langsdorff expedition which Florence and other artists and scientists have joined, travelling Brazil from 1825 to 1829.