The Invisible Holography Section and a Holographic Reading List

The Invisible Holography Section and a Holographic Reading List

I’ve been doing a considerable amount of reading and research on holography (and fine art holography) lately, so as I was passing through the National Library of Singapore the other day I decided to look in on what they had in the general lending section. Much to my surprise I saw that Holography had its own category in the dewey decimal system!

Oh sweet well let’s go to 774 then…

Alright here are all the books from 771…

And here are all the books from 775…



If you do search the NLB catalogue, you will find that they have got a few books on Holography at 774 – but these books are all reference books! So there are no books on holography for the masses. Oh no! So there is no chance that one might be blindly wandering through the shelves, hoping to randomly soak up ideas from library books and BLAM! A HOLOGRAPHY BOOK SECTION! But no! There isn’t any Holography Section, even though the word appears on the bookshelves. OH BUT HOW WILL WE DEVELOP (OR REVIVE?) THE HOLOGRAPHIC ARTS IN SINGAPORE THEN?

When you google for “Dewey Decimal 774” it says that 774 is no longer being used for Holography. However, if you google for the most updated version of the DDC 23 it says 774 is still Holography. Maybe the wikipedia page needs editing. (I’m not an expert on DDC to be honest)

Nevertheless there are actually a whole lot of very excellent books about holography out there, which I don’t feel have been represented here. So I’ve decided to write out Debbie’s recommended reading list if one wants to read more about holography:


1. Johnston, Sean. Holograms: A Cultural History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

If you’ve ever asked the questions “why do we no longer see holograms everywhere? why did the medium fail commercially? and why does it persist as a science fiction staple?” then this book will answer all your burning questions! This book explores what caused the rise, demise, and apparitional persistence of the hologram in visual culture. Its publication was preceded by Johnston’s 2006 book, Holographic Visions: A History of New Science, which is also definitely worth a read.

2. Schröter, Jens. 3D: History, Theory and Aesthetics of the Transplane Image. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

Beyond the term hologram, we can think of the 3D image as a transplane image, which Schroter’s book attempts to trace through history and theory. Schroter also edited another book “Das Holographische Wissen” edited with Stefan Rieger but alas I do not read German.

3. Falk, David S., Dieter R. Brill, and David G. Stork. “Holography.” Seeing the Light: Optics in Nature, Photography, Color, Vision and Holography. N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1986, 368-393.

There are tons of hardcore mathematical books explaining holography (interference pattern of coherent light is by now so well known to man and a staple in physics classrooms) but this remains one of the most classic textbook explaining the maths and optics behind much of photography and holography (Chapter 14). Practical yet poetic and accessible for readers even without maths or science backgrounds.

Other recommended readings:

(These are books which I’ve personally found useful in thinking about scientific approaches, technological innovations, and military technology’s influence in ways of producing images / transplane images / art)

1. Galison, Peter and Caroline A. Jones, eds. Picturing Science, Producing Art. New York: Routledge, 1998.

2. Virillo, Paul. The Vision Machine. London: British Film Institute, 1994.

3. Bishop, Ryan and John Phillips. Modernist Avant-Garde Aesthetics and Contemporary Military Technology: Technicities of Perception. Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

To be honest the above list is simply whatever I’ve enjoyed reading recently – so if you asked me to compile another holographic reading list in a few months time I expect the list will have expanded over time… so this….. IS TO BE UPDATED IN THE FUTURE!