1/27/14 – Rosamond Purcell and Sven Birkerts

Reading Messages in the Natural World

Photographer Rosamond Purcell discussed her longstanding interest in natural historical specimens and her thoughts about the phrase, “an art that nature makes,” a tenet that lies at the core of her practice. She also discussed her collaboration with the late Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist and essayist, who, over the course of almost two decades, wrote about the biological lessons inherent in Purcell’s images. In the preface to Crossing Over: Where Art and Science Meet (the last of their three books), Gould writes, “although the two disciplines may usually communicate in different dialects, when juxtaposed they strikingly reflect upon and enhance one another.”

Noted author Sven Birkerts helped Purcell bring this work to life by reading passages from some of these essays.