Week 10 – Theory in Practice Forum

As part of our course work this week we were asked to find an example of effective theory in practice and discuss why we thought it an effective piece of communication.  I cited an example from the book Repeat Photography.

From the Preface to Repeat Photography, Webb, Boyer and Turner (2010)

“Repeat photography is nearly as old as photography itself, with broad scientific, cultural and historical applications.  In a rapidly changing world, this technique graphically shows how landscapes respond to a variety of natural and anthropogenic processes.  As a scientific tool, repeat photography is unique in that it can be used to both generate and test hypotheses regarding ecological and landscape changes, sometimes with the same set of images.  From a cultural perspective, it provides a time capsule showing how towns, favorite places, archaeological sites, historic buildings, and even people have changed.  Rephotography has long been used medically to monitor a variety of conditions, ranging from tuberculosis to retinal deterioration.  Aquatic natural and cultural features are now monitored with underwater repeat photography.”

This opening segment to the book succinctly communicates the overall concept of repeat photography without delving into any specific detail about the technique.  It also clearly articulates the utility and broad range of applicability of repeat photography.  It does both in both instances without resorting to overly academic or esoteric language making it accessible to virtually anyone.  While this book is targeted toward an audience of scientists who would apply the techniques of repeat photography to their specific disciplines, this foreword in a few sentences explains the concept such that a non-scientist or non-photographer can appreciate.

That in my mind makes this passage an effective piece of communication.

WEBB, R., BOYER, D. and TURNER, R., 2010. Repeat Photography; Methods and Applications in the Natural Sciences. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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