From the compost
I have spent most of my life studying the sciences and earned a degree in chemistry and environmental science in France. When I moved to the United States, I decided to return to school and study art and, more specifically, photography.
I have always been under the impression that art and science were in various ways very similar. In the past they were not seen as completely separated enterprises. In earlier civilizations the artist and the scientist were often the same person. Art and science were seen as two complimentary sources for comprehension and knowledge. I think that their ultimate goals are still the same: to gain a better understanding of the world we live in and who we are. I also see both art and science as languages that allow us to explore and communicate ideas.
Photography is arguably the most suitable medium to build a bridge between art and science. It was born out of the marriage of artistic inquiry and scientific innovation. The two men credited for fathering photography illustrate the bi-disciplinary aspect of the medium. Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre was an artist, famous for his enormous diaroma paintings, whereas William Henry Fox Talbot was a scientist, elected to the Royal Society in 1832.
I have always tried in various ways to integrate my scientific influences in my art. My first attempt to establishing a dialogue between art and science lied in abstract images exploring notions of chaos and order. I wanted to demonstrate how the scale at which we look at things influences our vision. Oftentimes to the naked eye things appear completely chaotic, but at the microscopic level everything remains ordered and follows specific and predetermine patterns.
More recently I have been working on two projects influenced by scientific and artistic considerations. The first project, entitled The Scientific Esthetic, is a collection of photographs focusing on the human body. The idea behind the project is to use elements of our organism, such as blood, hair, sweat, etc, as the material for the creation of artistic images, inspired by scientific representation. My intent is to create works of art that appeal to both the artistic and scientific sensitivities of the viewer. I see this approach to self-portraiture as an objective, non-romantic depiction of the biology that sustains life.
The second project is a series of work focusing on the beauty of the mundane and overlooked by representing common plants, flowers and leaves in a way that revealed their intrinsic visual appeal and expressive qualities. After the photographs have been taken and developed, they are manipulated in ways that exploits the chemical and physical properties of the negative. The resulting photographs, while portraying and beautifying elements of nature, also speak of the characteristics of the medium through which they are created. The overlay of a texture, created by these manipulations, on flowers and plants allows the interesting juxtaposition of the chemical and organic realms.
Artistic and scientific enterprises have been strong personal inspirations; my photography has been a way to reconcile these two elements of my background. Science has also had a profound influence on the way we visualize the world around us and within us. My work is an attempt to create an esthetic that would reconcile personal interpretation and scientific depiction.