Photo Synthesis—Transformative Environmentalists by Samantha Bias

Photo Synthesis is an exhibit that was created to honor and bring awareness to the world’s most prolific environmental advocates, animal rights advocates, philosophers and humanitarians. The individuals portrayed also represent various genders, races and eras which creates a dialogue with the viewer.

Bias utilizes a sustainable chlorophyll process on leaves she collected at the botanical garden to imprint portraits of notable environmentalists, from Walt Whitman to Greta Thunberg.

Bias explains, “In this process, the only materials I needed were a leaf and the sun. Darkroom studies brought me to thinking about the photosynthetic properties of plants and how they use light to make food in order to survive. Instead of using light sensitive darkroom chemicals, I created images by selectively preserving part of the plant while simultaneously sun bleaching the rest, resulting in a lasting image.”

Not only does the sustainable art medium and process reflect the subject matter, notable environmentalists, in a clear and meaningful way, but it also explores the idea of a temporary artform that will fade and crumble over time. Bias uses no means of preservation, chemicals or other substances creating a piece of artwork that is compostable.

“As an artist we can be so wasteful when creating. We have the potential over a lifetime to leave a big carbon footprint,” Bias explains. “With my current art process, I would like to bring up the notion of how we can be more sustainable and conscious about our environment. It is so prevalent to the current state of the world.”

Join Bias for an exclusive workshop through Holden Forests & Gardens where she will demonstrate the chlorophyll process and the fundamentals of photosynthesis photography. Participants will have the opportunity to use a unique leaf from our collections to create their own unique work of art. Workshop will be held on Sunday, August 2 from 11am – 1pm. $50 per member, $70 per nonmember. For more information or to register, click here. Registration is limited to 9 participants.

Hours & Admission

Aug. 4 – Sept. 20
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Wednesday: 10am – 8pm & Sunday: Noon – 5pm
Guren Art Gallery, 2nd Floor
Included with general admission
Reservations to visit grounds are required