The Scientist’s Eye

The Scientist’s Eye

Three rooms filled with floral photography.

In 1961, Pete Seeger asked in his famous lament “Where have all the flowers gone?” If he has the time during his Oct. 5 visit to The Birchmere for a benefit concert, he’ll find a great many of them at George Washington’s River Farm, home of the American Horticultural Society.

Had he ventured in last Tuesday he would not only have discovered a profusion of living examples that “the girls” had not “picked them every one,” but also a wide array of some of the most beautiful specimens that they, in fact, could not pick.

Those adorned the walls, caught in all their glory and mystery by botanical photographer Amy Lamb.

As the kick-off event to America’s Garden Celebration “Fashion In Bloom,” by the Garden Centers of America, Lamb’s art exhibition “Inflorescence” captured both the intricate beauty of a myriad species as well their complexity, as perhaps only the trained eye of a molecular biologist could perceive through the lens of a camera.

Lamb’s flowers are for all seasons and all climates, natural or political.

“When I look closely at a plant, its stunning structures demonstrate a beautiful and elegant synthesis of form and function, an unfolding mystery aimed at replicating and preserving its species. I try to show the monumentality of plants,” Lamb said.

“I AM MOSTLY INTERESTED in the structure of plants. What drives me forward is my passion for the beauty of nature,” she said.

Now a internationally acclaimed photographer of flowers who has had her own gallery at the renowned Philadelphia, Pa., flower show in 2002 and 2004, Lamb came to this career after one in biology. It was that scientific training that actually laid the groundwork for her insight as a botanical photographer.

“I started to see the repetitive patterns in flowers much as we have in our bodies. This applied most particularly to the spiral effect such as our DNA and the branching such as our blood and nervous systems,” Lamb said.

Originally from Michigan, Lamb went to a high school oriented toward art and science.

She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biology and was a research scientist with the National Institutes of Health for three years.

“I got married, had a family and got a different point of view while raising my children,” she said.