Thursday, April 20

worlds of information

The daguerreotype provides a different, but related, experience. When first introduced to it in 1839, astonished onlookers were dumbfounded by its clarity and definition. Commentators at the time noted how, by applying a magnifying lens, one could discover worlds of information otherwise too small to be observed by the naked eye. The ramifications of this innovation were profound: the daguerreotype signified the first instance in history when a means of visual representation was devised that registered more detail than the unaided human eye could extract. Such superfluity of detail had heretofore made no logical sense with reference to handmade pictures; the daguerreotype embodied a new order of picture-making, one oblivious to the generative and receptive limitations of the eye and the brain. By implication, it dispensed with the humanist underpinnings of Renaissance art.

-- Douglas R. Nickel "Chuck Close's Glass Eye," in Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005