Artist: Terry Ashley

Terry Ashley
A photo of me as a toddler shows me sharing an iris with my grandmother, but I remember a different incident kindling both my love of plants and fascination with botany (the science of plants) to a walk in the woods on our family farm in Western Kentucky. I found a clump of Indian Pipes, a flowering plant that looks like it is carved from wax. How beautiful, by why wasn't it green?
In college, I literally added another dimension to this love/fascination in a class on plant anatomy (the study of plants under the light microscope). That dimension? Inside leaves, stems, and flowers. The cell's micro-structure determines their function -- not just in a general manner, but their adaption to their environment.
My career took a different turn. Although I earned a Ph.D. in genetics from Florida State University, my research always involved the microscope. I spent the last 19 years of that career in the Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine. Yet I continued to retreat by examining plants together? The answer came during a talk given by Adre Gallant, a Canadian photographer. At the time, film was still the primary means of photography and he was making "slide sandwiches." He was overlaying two slides: one "the subject" and the other "texture" (rain on a windshield, for instance). aH hA! Layering was a way for me to combine macro and micro. This was the birth of what I call "Botanical Chords." I take a traditional image of a plant -- flower, leaf, or seed pod and some aspect of the same species under the microscope and overlay the two in Adobe Photoshop.
Most of my images in this show are Botanical Chords -- a few are of "just cells." My goal is to share this dual beauty. Enjoy!

I have a book Botanical Chords and Harmonic Notes.