I propose that both Moholy-Nagy's suggestions that products of applied, particularly scientific, photography be employed as exemplars for art photography, and his practice of integrating such applied photographs with art photographs in his publications and exhibitions, laid the groundwork for an aestheticization of scientific photography within the twentieth-century artistic avant-garde. This photographic “New Vision,” formulated in the 1920s, also effected a kind of “scientization” of art photography. Rather than Positivist mechanism, however, I argue that the science at play was “biocentrism,” the early twentieth-century worldview that can be described as Naturromantik updated by biologism. His key inspiration in this regard was one of the most important figures of biocentrism, the biologist and popular scientific writer Raoul Heinrich Francé, and his conception of Biotechnik [bionics], in which he proposed that all human technologies are based in natural technologies.
The biological, pure and simple, taken as the guide.
– Moholy-Nagy (1938, 198)