The images you see here, part of an ongoing series of Books, Pages and Tablets, reflect my interest in the history of science. Although I work digitally, my images remain photographic in that they are dependent on light for more than general illumination. When I was working with view cameras in the seventies, eighties and nineties I was always looking for light or shadow that coalesced into its own shapes. In black and white I could control my contrast range in order to use many kinds of light and shadow shapes. Because of contrast issues in color, I had to wait for digital technology to allow colored light to take form in my prints.
Words and pictures gain authority as soon as they enter books, tablets, and pages. Until very recently we lived in a culture of words. If I am waiting in an unfamiliar room, my eyes dart around for something to read. If there’s a cereal box on the table, I start reading. I particularly like 17th century science books, because some authors observed things for themselves, some relied on verbal hearsay that had traveled down the years like an extended game of telephone and others made things up as they went along. Many early science books contain illustrations, but a lot of the pictures are masterpieces of verbal misinformation; their creators had only words about the subjects, verbal information handed down for generations that yielded monsters and fabled lands. Other illustrations came from first hand observation; vision informed the visual.