Purple Datura 2015

Close-up photograph shows a trumpet-shaped flower with variegated purples and whites against a black background.
Amy Lamb, Purple Datura, 2015; Gift of the Artist and Steven Scott Gallery, Baltimore; Photo courtesy of the artist

Photographer Amy Lamb identifies images like Purple Datura as portraits because she seeks to capture the essence of a plant. “I often print my images very large to allow the viewer to delve into the visual ‘soul’ of the flower,” she says.

Here, Lamb’s skillful handling of light and shadow focuses attention on the intricacies of this trumpet-shaped bloom. The datura’s striated neck erupts in a profusion of flamboyantly rippling petals, which dominate the composition. Its variegated purples and whites pop against an inky black background, lending clarity to the complex contours. 

Originally a molecular biologist, Lamb creates images that reflect her fascination with biodiversity, especially how and why plants evolved their distinctive forms and colors.  “Humans often take for granted the amazing engineering that goes into plants,” she says. “My mission is to share the beauty and magnificence of the actual structures.”

 

National Museum of Women in the Arts