The inventive and intelligent mind of Dr. Harold Edgerton is responsible for some of the world’s most pioneering photographic devices and techniques. A scientist first and foremost, Edgerton worked with the famous marine biologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau to develop underwater photographic equipment and side-scan sonar devices to map the ocean floor.
In addition to his work in oceanic reconnaissance, Edgerton was also pivotal in the world of aerial exploration. The inventor of the “strobe” flash, during WWII he enabled the use of a strobe light powerful enough to allow night-time images to be transmitted, the result of which was to reveal an absence of German forces at key strategic points just prior to the Allied attack on 6 June, 1944.
Numerous journalists, photographers, scientists and inventors have credited him for altering our understanding of the world and for revealing and capturing many of its unseen happenings. His work with strobe flash has enabled us to witness the amazing images of a bullet breaking a sheet of glass, or a tennis racket mid-arc. An Instituted Professor at MIT, his legacy survives not only as a great scientific mind or in the scientific advances he made, but also in the extraordinary aesthetic and abstract qualities of the images he produced. He spent sixty years combining his prodigious engineering talents with an aesthetic sensibility, freezing movement in time and making this part of our modern visual culture.
His work has been exhibited across the world and his prints are held in museum collections worldwide. The exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a rare selection of vintage black and white prints from his estate.
Dr. Harold Edgerton, 6 June – 2 August, Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TD. For more information visit www.michaelhoppengallery.com.
1. Gussie Moran, 1949. © Harold Edgerton Archive, MIT. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.
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