01 February 2021

A Photographic Investigation on the Boundary Between Knowledge and Assumption

01 February 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

German photographer Volker Crone delves into the disciplines of physics, biology, chemistry, and archaeology to explore the human approach to research and question how we as a society deal with scientific progress.

"But from the earliest beginnings of their culture, people can never bear to accept the unconnected and inexplicable coexistence of events. They always tried to understand the underlying order of the world. We still have an insatiable need to know why we are here and where we come from. Humanity's deep-rooted desire for knowledge is justification enough for our ongoing search. And we have no less goal in mind than a complete description of the universe in which we live." - A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

Human life can be described as a series of different forms of search. This description is divided into small, individual, and highly repetitive searches, and large, long-term, and more general ones.

The narrative of the great quests was often represented by religion but was increasingly replaced by science. These narratives have always determined the respective spirit of the times by providing a model for thinking about the existence of life and the nature of our world.

Science as such moves dynamically in the field of tension between knowledge and non-knowledge, in the expansion of its knowledge horizons: in a gap where the boundaries are not fully defined and the results are not yet assured.

The conceptual photo-documentary series The Order Of Things deals with precisely this area of tension between understanding and not understanding. The interspace from which human understanding and self-understanding are expanded. It takes place in various disciplines of physics, biology, chemistry as well as archaeology, focusing on the terms "search" and "cognition".

In this work, the individual fields of research are to be understood together as the avant-garde, which in the sense of the title expands the boundaries of knowledge. The pictures should also be read less as answers, but rather bring the questioning closer to the viewer. What does it look like where one finds oneself between knowledge and assumption? What do we really know and how do we as a society deal with our knowledge and progress? What do cognition and search look like?

The portraits in this series were created – similar to a scientific experiment – in an always the same setup in the office of the respective scientist. The camera exposed at a fixed interval in a period of 1-2 hours, while I left the place to increase the degree of objectivity of my experiment.

Words and Pictures by Volker Crone.


Living in northern Germany and considering himself European, Volker Crone focuses his photographic work on topics of science, ecology and sociology, usually linked with a conceptual approach. After graduating in photojournalism from the Hanover University of Applied Sciences, he dedicates himself to researching and realizing his free projects. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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