Nature – how to communicate it

In my research this week I have been looking at ideologies, particularly in relation to environment. This is a new element to my thought process on environmental issues but an important part of my research in light of where my work will sit in context.

Part of my online research led me to a book by Julia Corbett, Communicating Nature. It seems at first glance a good starting point for my learning around this broad topic.

I also came across this blog – – with a specific review of the aforementioned book. It would seem there are a number of ‘isms’ on which I can hang my own hat.

In addition this article by David J Wagner highlights some examples of Environmental Impact through [American] Art; the works shown include artistic responses to environmental disasters such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill to 1871 expeditions to influence Yellowstone becoming a national park.

I have also been inspired by a chat with my tutor this week. Listening to someone else’s take on your work is always helpful. This discussion has instigated a new angle. It may well give my work the grounding I feel it still needs. Without going into great detail yet, simply as it is just an idea stage at present, I may well be involving one of my original inspirations, Anna Atkins, with a more modern twist. Further discoveries along this vein have led me to a book Ocean Flowers: Impressions from Nature in the Victorian Era (although a review by Sandra Knapp of the Natural History Museum isn’t the most flattering). It is interesting to read the Yale Centre for British Art exhibition text describe it as: “This landmark exhibition was the first to consider the early history of photography specifically in the light of botany” and that it refers to Anna Atkins work in detail.

Knapp’s review also makes mention of another artist whose work I have been inspired by, that of Angela Easterling. I invited Angela to take part in an alternative photo festival I organised in 2014 but diaries dates didn’t work out.

I have also discovered the fascinating work of Deb Todd Wheeler and her work, Holoplanktonica.


This take on plastic pollution, linking it back to the earlier Ocean Flowers work, which in turn links back to the earliest botanical photographs suggests an additional means of recycling and upcycling images from the past and present into a new form of my own.

On the suggestion of my tutor, I also looked up the work of Hermann Zschiegner, particularly his Evans/Levine ‘re-take’. At first I wasn’t sure, did it simply feel like appropriation for appropriation’s sake? Then I looked more closely and the intrigue developed. Zschiegner’s thinking takes mine on a new direction – his work 4 Million digits made my head spin, while his examination of Gursky’s photographs was revealing. A great online place to spend some time – perhaps Zschiegner work could be ‘appropriated’.

Tying this all in with my thoughts around Mandy Barker’s work and the use of my husband’s old microscope, I feel some exciting images are ahead.