This exciting information may not be interesting to everyone but those in the classification and taxonomy world understand its significance, or they should. Forbes brought this interesting news to our attention in their article, “Meet The Woman Who Invented Scientific Photography At This Stunning New York Public Library Exhibit.”

An English botanist named Anna Atkins created hundreds of images made by arranging plants on photosensitive cyanotype paper. Her magnum opus, British Algae, was the first book ever to be illustrated with photography, and the images within it were the first photographs ever used for scientific illustration. The copies were produced by hand: multiple photographs each of over 400 botanical subjects, hand-labelled with their Latin names.

Having grown up with her father who was a chemist, mineralogist, and not too successful zoologist, she was surrounded by science and also contributed to her father’s work. This was the beginning of where art and science met.

Melody K. Smith

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