Paleobotanical Splendor is a celebration of the pure beauty of fossilized wood. When these images are viewed collectively, they present a visual brio of colors, shapes and compositions. Individually, however, they are distinctive because their earth–tones, bi–dimensionality and geometric shapes evoke the painterly qualities normally associated with abstract and non–objective art. In the tragic beauty of life forms long extinct there is also a foreboding reminder of life’s precariousness and our own fragility. With high magnification and light refraction, recurring patterns and saturated mineral pigments are abstracted. Secret worlds are revealed, with misty pools, gem encrustations and fractured rainbows. What soon becomes apparent is the mineral components of some specimens are exceedingly colorful, and when light is diffracted by internal structures, other worldly images are formed. The images from this series are a true union of ART & SCIENCE and a reminder that extinction is a part of life.
Norman Barker is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Art as Applied to Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. He also serves as Director of Pathology Photography and Graphics Laboratory at the School of Medicine. A graduate of The Maryland Institute College of Art, he also holds a M.S. from Johns Hopkins University in education as well as a M.A. from The University of Baltimore in publications design. He specializes in photomicroscopy and macro photography. He is a Registered Biological Photographer as well as a Fellow of the BioCommunications Association and his work appears in textbooks, journals and museums worldwide. His photographs are in the permanent collections of more than forty museums including The Smithsonian, The George Eastman House, The American Museum of Natural History, The Nelson-Atkins Museum and The Science Museum in London. He is currently collaborating on a book entitled “The Eye of The Beholder: Exploring The Aesthetics of Medicine.”