PDN Photo of the Day

Seeing the Heart of a Rose

Dr. Dain L. Tasker wasn’t trained as a photographer—his day job was chief radiologist at Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles. But Tasker’s delicate x-rays of flowers, made in the late 1920s and 30s, reveal an artist’s appreciation of form and composition. He sought help printing his negatives from Will Connell at the Art Center College in Pasadena, but the subtle layers of plant tissue he was able to record attest to his skill as a radiographer. Bringing to mind references as diverse as Man Ray’s Rayographs, (from roughly the same time), Karl Blossfeldt’s majestic botanical studies, and even Anna Atkins simple cyanotypes, Tasker’s images have been intermittently celebrated since their rediscovery, including a 2000 monograph from Stinehour Press and a show at Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York. The latest is a collection of vintage prints of his floral x-rays, on view at Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, California, through February 19. “Flowers are the expression of the love life of plants,” Tasker once wrote. His images reveal the romance in that biology.

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