Learning To See Through Art
If a person is born blind, and then acquires sight, she will have to learn to recognize objects through sight alone. She will need to integrate her new vision with the rest of her senses.
Many congenital cataract and cornea defect patients, whose blindness can be relieved easily by surgery fail to integrate the vision that surgery gives them. In the end they lose function in the eye again often for no physical reason. Oliver Sacks tells just such a story in his book An Anthropologist on Mars, about Shirl Jennings. It's a heartbreaking tale of vision gained and then lost
When I had my congenital cataracts removed at age 34 I was determined to integrate my eyesight. So I began taking photographs. I would hold small objects in my hands and then photograph them from different angles, observing the new realms of shape and perspective that these photographs opened up. Over a period of several years I learned to recognize the edges of things and the shapes that were just pretty (as opposed to those that posed dangers).
In 2007 I was invited to present a solo show of realistic and abstract photographs in the Department of Biology, where I was a graduate student. I exhibit my art at national and local science fiction art shows and am a juried member of Gallery North in Edmonds Washington.
On these pages you'll see a large display area surrounded by thumbnail images. Click on the thumbnails to display the images and their information.
These pages present Anne Prather's botanical photography. The images included in this section emphasize all the various parts of plant structure, particularly leaves, stems, spines, and flowers. Often the images are studies of these structures, photographed in a way that emphasizes some aspect of form, such as Fibonacci spirals.
We are particularly pleased to share three images of the spectacular corpse flower (Amorphophallis titanum), which blooms only once every ten years. This massive inflorescence, nearly 6 feet tall, is the inspiration for Audrey, the plant in Little Shop of Horrors.
Roses and Other Flowers
Roses have always fascinated Prather. "Their rich texture and intricate form echoes their complex aroma," she says. Most of the roses on this page came from her garden, which, she says "is a gift". "It came with our house," she adds, and smiles. Several of these pictures were included in her first solo exhibition at the University of Washington.
Imagine how odd and wonderful it would be to perceive texture visually after many years of blindness. Anne Prather captures this experience in the landscapes presented here. These images emphasize texture and form, capturing mountains as though you could render them in Braille.
In addition to the texture studies, you'll find landscapes that play with reflection, with movement, and with color.
Fractals and Other Abstracts
It turns out that complex shapes such as the one on the right can be generated using remarkably simple sets of rules. Such shapes are called fractals, and they are one of several abstract shapes Prather has built using the Xenodream program. Besides pure fractals, Prather is fond of shapes that use "constructors" or themes that override normal inheritance rules to produce compositions that look like birds, landscapes, and plants.
Shells and Minerals
Sea shells captivate children's imaginations with their intricate textures, varied colors, and echoes of sea sound. Hold a sea shell up to your ear and you can hear the ocean
This sampler presents, among other images, a picture of the Conus gloriamaris (Glory of the Sea) shell, the rarest specimen in Prather's collection. The shell is named for the deeply colored and intricate pattern of markings on its outside.