John Adams Whipple. The Moon. 1853-54

John Adams Whipple The Moon 1853-54

  • Not on view

Pairing the camera with the telescope, John Adams Whipple became a pioneer of astronomical and night photography. Between 1847 and 1852, he and Harvard astronomer William Cranch Bond used the university’s Great Refractor Telescope—the world’s largest at the time—to produce award-winning photographs of the moon that are remarkable for their close perspective, clarity of detail, and sheer beauty. To make this print, Whipple used an image of the moon first captured by the daguerreotype process, which he then copied with a glass negative. Faced with the technological limitations of negatives, which required a higher level of light to record images, other photographers working in and after Whipple’s time photographed models of the moon based on drawings of telescopic images.

Additional text from Seeing Through Photographs online course, Coursera, 2016
Salted paper print
7 1/4 × 6" (18.4 × 15.2 cm)
Gift of Warner Communications, Inc.
Object number

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].