Special thanks to Rose-Lynn Fisher for answering 4 questions about her recently featured book – Bee
Rose-Lynn Fisher is an artist. Rose-Lynn Fisher has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Bass Museum of Art and at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. There have been Several articles about Rose-Lynn Fisher, including ‘The Microscopic Structures of Dried Human Tears’ written for Smithsonian Magazine in 2013. – From Mutualart.com
#1 – What was the impetus for this book?
I’ve always felt a kinship with honeybees that only got stronger as I became more familiar with them. The project really began the moment I first saw the bee’s eye magnified like an endless field of thousands of hexagonal lenses that seemed to echo the structure of honeycomb. This correspondence of hexagons between the structure of the bee’s vision and the structures she builds made me ponder about the connection between vision and action in a deeper, more symbolic, metaphoric sense, and made me think about the golden mean, about fractals, the patterns in nature that correspond no matter what scale they exist at. For me the hexagon was not just the efficiency of nature’s organization of space, but the very spark that lit my curiosity to explore the bee, her form and function, learn about pollination, environmental concerns – and then, the more I saw, the more I wanted to explore further. Working with the bees was a very gradual process. This project unfolded over years and years, and when I began working on the book, the process intensified.
#2 – How did you get involved in doing Electron Microscope Photography? What affordances does it give you beyond regular photography?
A close friend of mine was a microscopist who tutored me on the basics of preparing a sample and how to operate the microscope. What an adventure inside the SEM! To be able to identify an area of interest and keep going closer and closer was thrilling to me; the sense of discovery was endless, especially as magnifications could go into the hundreds and thousands. For example, seeing the intricacy of pollen for the first time was unbelievable, especially since I had assumed it was only a speck of dust. But that is true of all the bee’s anatomy, or geography, as I experienced it. I would enter a “region” of something I’ve never seen before, like wing hooks, and it was an inspiration to observe how practical nature is, practical and sculptural. Exploring at a microscopic level stretched the boundaries of my perception. The SEM gave me the chance to see the actuality of a bee: one little tiny being in our world, yet a whole world in itself — and that everything in nature is so complex.
#3 – How did you come to work with bees as opposed to any other type of creature?
I love honeybees. I love to visit apiaries and watch the life of the colony, in all its stages. Honeybees live in a peaceful society whose industries benefit life. In fact, I can envision the study of bees and beekeeping as a basis for an integrated curriculum in school – it could be the hub of an entire approach to education from biology to architecture, math, music, art, world culture, social studies, folklore, weather, physics, entomology, botany, chemistry, medicine, healing arts, nutrition, gardening, perception, design, and biomimicry, since the world of the honeybees interfaces with each of these subjects and more..
#4 – What has the reaction to your photographs been? By adults/kids/public/scientists?
Surprise, and that moment of “wow”, just like I felt – and still feel. What I wish to share through my images is the sense of wonder and beauty I have experienced and observed; and when I see that spark occur in someone else it’s a joy for me. With BEE, I hope to foster deeper curiosity, greater appreciation, and marvel for the honeybee. After seeing bees so intimately it’s impossible to ever think of them in the same way. We certainly can no longer take them for granted – throughout the world we are now aware of their dire situation – but when there’s deeper awareness and personal connection, inevitably there’s greater motivation to protect, nurture, and find solutions to the worst challenges.
[Image Credit: http://www.rose-lynnfisher.com/rlf_2690b.jpg ]