Photo Friday: Seeing the Unseen

Dr. Harold Edgerton

Dr. Harold E. Edgerton giving a lecture at Cranbrook Institute of Science, Jan 1950. Cranbrook Archives.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, who was awarded the National Medal of Science, and won an Oscar  – the subject of today’s Photo Friday has quite the list of accomplishments! Dr. Harold E. Edgerton gave a lecture at Cranbrook Institute of Science in 1950 called “Seeing the Unseen”. Edgerton advanced the development of strobes – using them to freeze objects in motion to capture on film. Utilizing short duration electronic flash, Edgerton developed techniques for photographing athletic events, bullets, and drops and splashes. Many of his photographs were published in Time magazine.  In 1937, one of Edgerton’s milk-drop photographs was included in the first photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1952, the National Geographic Society invited Edgerton to join Jacques Cousteau on an underwater exploration. Edgerton built underwater cameras and flashes for Cousteau, and also developed sonar technology that enabled him to search for the ancient Greek city of Helike (submerged around 373 B.C.) and locate an H-bomb off the coast of Spain.

Gina Tecos, Archivist


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