Lamb's photographs mix religion, science and art


When Bethesda-based photographer Amy Lamb began exhibiting her elegant, meticulously crafted images of flowers more than a decade ago, the digital technology that made the pictures possible was just emerging as a vital new creative tool.

Lamb, a former National Institutes of Health scientist whose specialty was molecular biology, took up the camera seriously after taking a beginning photography course at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where one of her assignments was to photograph an orchid show in the museum's botanical gardens.

The experience was transformative. Lamb found that in photographing flowers she could express her deepest feelings about the essential unity of creation; the medium became for her a mix of religion, science and art.

Since then, her pictures have been exhibited and published widely. Now they are the subject of a lovely small-scale exhibition in the gallery of the Harbor Court Hotel in downtown Baltimore organized by Owings Mills gallery owner Steven Scott.

All the pictures in the show are large-scale images printed on watercolor papers. Lamb uses a medium-format Hasselblad camera to capture the images on color film, then scans the resulting transparencies into a computer to create a high-resolution digital file. The digitized images are then transferred to paper on a digital printer with archival inks.

The advanced technology enables Lamb to control every aspect of the picture-making process down to the smallest details of color, composition and lighting. Her images have a startling, monumental lifelikeness that transforms her mute floral subjects into a form of poetic speech.

If you missed Lamb's show at Steven Scott Gallery earlier this year, the Harbor Court Hotel exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to see the work in a setting that shows it off to best advantage.

The gallery is on the hotel's second-floor lobby at 550 Light St. Hours 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 410-234-0550 or contact the Steven Scott Gallery at 410-902-9300.

For more art events, see Page 33.

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