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This STEAM* effort is inspired by an elevated appreciation for the beauty and potential healing capacity of the natural environment in my neighborhood, which became more palpable as life was constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

* STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics

In Spring 2020, the world closed in and time slowed for most of us. My teaching commitments at the University of San Diego became virtual and my preferred athletic and social habits were suddenly prohibited. A fast car drive, unmindful of the natural beauty enroute to a meeting, class or squash match was replaced by mounting anxiety and long leisurely walks with our dogs while absorbing the shape, color and diversity of neighborhood flora. I began to realize that the geometry, pigmentation and homology** of flowers and succulents were remarkably soothing and therapeutic.

**the state of relationship between organisms or groups of organisms resulting in resemblance in structure or structural part.

I am a behavioral neuroscientist with a trained eye for structural detail based on decades of examining nervous systems of insects to aid in understanding how their brains – and ours – generate behavior. Armed with a scientific perspective, an appreciation for symmetry in design, and the ubiquitous 12-megapixel iPhone 7 camera, I began documenting my floral experiences. High-density images were curated and cropped for screen-saver display on our home TV and computer monitors. The months passed, the botanical collection grew, and my life was somehow more cheerful. “Bubble” friends and family members also found themselves captivated by these images on screen in place of viewing a film or other programming. The therapeutic value of this collection was realized during its construction and confirmed by those having the opportunity to experience it.

These botanical images center around how we humans recognize, discriminate, and integrate patterns of sensory input to understand and navigate the world around us. The images in this photography collection highlight the diversity of flowers and succulents in North County San Diego. They are designed to stimulate neural pattern recognition with therapeutic graphic elements based on a theme of soothing, locally sourced, and familiar botanical imagery.  The energy and logic of recognition and alignment is soothing and therapeutic, and thus our brains and minds are transformed by the energy of these recurrent experiences.

It is my aspiration as a scientist and artist to examine empirically what many of us know intuitively or intrinsically – that nature can heal what ails us – personally and as a community.  


May the power of the flower be with you...


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