Inspired by going to the Museum of the Moon exhibition, I wanted to look into other examples of bringing together art and science. I feel like both of these subjects suffer from a perception of being ‘specialist’ and I wonder whether by combining them it has the impact of making both feel more accessible?
Nature seems to have influenced art for such a long time, it almost feels silly to start here. However, that obviousness feels important. I adored my British wildlife book with photos by Paul Sterry as a child, and it played a significant role in keeping me connected with nature even as I discovered computer games…
Today I enjoy looking at the winners of nature photography competitions, Royal Society of Biology photography competition results for 2019 have not long been published and the Guardian ran a nice page on it here. I especially liked “Falling leaves are blue by Kallol Mukherjee in North Sikkim, India” with it’s surprising backdrop and large number of individuals captured. Perhaps more famous is the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and, again, the Guardian shows the 2019 winnners well here.
I’ve two favourites from the latter competition; Land of the Eagle by Audun Rikardsen, Norway and Snow-Plateau Nomads by Shangzhen Fan, China. Both are stunning an powerful images. I’ve bought items from the Natural History Museum shop that incorporate previous winning entries, and my Christmas cards for this year are one example! I suspect that with such a wonderful set of images again, I’ll be drawn into further purchases.
Along the same lines, I’ve enjoyed books to accompany wildlife documentaries as much as the footage, with glorious footage and frequently slightly more detailed commentary than is consider desirable for prime time TV! The Dynasties book, for example, was explained the wild dog relationships far better and than I felt the programme did.
I’ve heard that science and art, far from being at odds (as most university departments appear to be), are naturally compatible as ways for humans to explore and understand the world. A sentiment that seems to have been obvious to the polymaths of history, and I’ve put a collage of some of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings in the featured image. Both beautiful and functional.
From a nature/art perspective, it has been said that we cannot expect people to care about a nature and environment that they do not understand and the beautiful images in the competitions mentioned may be part of the solution.