I have been an avid nature lover all my life, starting with early Boy Scout campouts and hikes and continuing with gardening and kayaking today. I love the scanner photography technique – the way the detail and depth preserves the transient beauty of flowers. I never know for sure what combination of flowers and plants will work best on the scanner, so it is always a joyous act of discovery when a beautiful picture emerges on the computer screen.
Photography can preserve the ephemeral nature of flowers...but a computer scanner? Today's digital scanners can do a lot more than just digitize checks or old photographs -- they can be used to capture the vibrant color and depth of fresh flowers.
I first learned the scanner photography technique from Ellen Hoverkamp, a Connecticut-based artist and teacher, through a seminar at Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts. My work tends more towards specimens and "growing" settings, whereas Ellen's artistry is displayed with her tasteful bouquets and elegant arrangements.
What you see on this page aren't photographs – at least not in the traditional sense. The camera in this case is a high-end digital scanner, with the flowers arranged face down on the open glass of the scanner and the image taken in a darkened room. The picture is then retouched with a computer only to remove any stray pollen or dust, being careful to never alter the original arrangement, preserving the integrity and natural beauty of the plants. Since this editing is often done at a level of nearly 1/300th of an inch level, each picture can require 10 to 20 hours or more to complete.