In this essay for the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s “Seeing Science: Photography, Science, and Visual Culture,” I examine how images of the environment “serve as both as catalyst and as a mode of understanding. Visual portrayals help shape the context in which a politics takes place, and are often instrumental in stimulating dialogue and debate. In our relationship to environmentalism, sometimes pictures have a chance to change history by creating a larger understanding of the subject, bringing a greater awareness to pressing issues.”

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Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.


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