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This volume represents an important selection of 116 photographs from a specific window of time and place as viewed through the camera lens of one of the greatest botanists of all time. Ms. Watts has curated an impressive collection of images that not only serve to document Dr. Liogier's research but bring to light the unique way this particular scientist saw the world of plants in their environment. As Ms. Watts states, "Each photograph is an instant within diverging and overlapping trajectories: plant science research, photographic technology, plant species adaptation, habitat transformation, land conservation, climate change, a particular botanist's research, and an individual's lifetime." If you are interested in where science and fine art merge, then this book is for you.
To read the UCLA Ampersand feature, Brandy Watts: Art and Science Merge in Book of Alain Liogier's Field Photographs click here.
This marvelous collection of botanist Alain H. Liogier's late-1960s Caribbean field photographs, superbly edited by Brandy Watts, delights the eye and blows the mind. Observational science and unselfconscious visual art come together in images that deliver documentary information by means that are pure photographic poetry.
A treasure to behold, this book celebrates the life and work of Alain H. Liogier, and encapsulates perfectly the intersection of art, science, and history. Every detail has been carefully considered, including design, paper, color, and texture. Ms. Watts' book fits perfectly in one's hand, further emphasizing the intimacy of Liogier's thoughtful, eloquent, and masterfully framed photographs.
In the abstract, it seems natural for one to see art and science as distinct and separate categories of inquiry. By extension, one may imagine the scientist as an individual who chooses analysis over enchantment when confronted with the phenomena of the natural world. A book like this, however, pulls the work of the scientist out of the realm of abstraction and shows it as the expression of a very human fascination.
Brandy Watt's careful curation leads the reader through a selection of photographs that appear intimate and immediate, clear and specific. One imagines Alain H. Liogier intuitively considering aesthetic concerns like light and composition while simultaneously drawing careful attention to the unique characteristics of each precious living thing. The constructions of the bound volume, itself, honors this collection of field photographs with its sensitively chosen textures, materials, and design.
There is often a deep and sometimes strange intimacy between scientists, no matter how objective they fashion themselves to be, and the subjects of their study. At times, the rich relationship that develops is sublime, infused with subjectivity as well as objectivity, both held in tension, with the possibility that one could always destroy the other. The field photographs of botanist Alain H. Liogier, taken during visits to the Dominican Republic in 1968 and 1969, and beautifully curated and presented in this volume by Brandy Watts and NYBG Press, open the eye and the heart to the moving connection between the critical, inquiring human mind, and the nonhuman world that receives and reflects our wonder and care.
Brandy Watts works in plant science at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium. She also curates exhibits for the RSABG Library. Ms Watts holds a Master's of Fine Art as well as an Master's of Library and Information Science. Brandy Watts's Author Page