Of the ten million or so different species of insects on our planet, none is more fascinating than the honeybee. One of the oldest forms of animal life still in existence from the Neolithic Age, bees have been worshipped and mythologized since the beginning of human history. Known popularly for their industriousness ("as busy as a bee") and highly valued for their role in agricultural pollination (every third bite we take depends on them), bees are now kept by a quarter-million beekeepers in the United States alone, and millions more around the world.
Honeybees were the first creatures examined by seventeenth-century scientists whose primitive microscopes suggested a complex system of construction. Now, magnified hundreds to thousands of times with a latest generation high-resolution scanning electron microscope, honeybees appear as architectural masterpieces--an elegant fusion of form and function.
Melding art and science, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher puts this modern tool to creative use in order to reveal the microscopic majesty of these natural wonders. BEE presents sixty astonishing photographs of honeybee anatomy in magnifications ranging from 10x to 5000x. Rendered in stunning detail, Fisher's photographs uncover the strange beauty of the honeybee's pattern, form, and structure. Comprising 6,900 hexagonal lenses, their eyes resemble the structure of a honeycomb. The honeybee's proboscis--a strawlike appendage used to suck nectar out of flowers, folds resembles a long, slender hairy tongue. Its six-legged exoskeleton is fuzzy with hairs that build up a static charge as the bee flies in order to electrically attract pollen. Wings clasp together with tiny hooks and a double-edged stinger resembles a serrated hypodermic needle. The honeybee's three pairs of segmented legs are a revelation, with their antennae cleaners, sharp-pointed claws, and baskets to carry pollen to the hive. These visual discoveries, made otherworldly through Fisher's lens, expand the boundaries of our thinking about the natural world and stimulate our imaginations. BEE features a foreword by nature writer and New York Times editorial board member Verlyn Klinkenborg.
Rose-Lynn Fisher is an artist working in photography and mixed-media. She has a bachelor of fine arts from Otis College of Art and Design.
Photo District News:
"Rose-Lynn Fishers photographs of bees made using a scanning electron microscope reveal the art in the anatomy of one of natures most important creatures."
— Conor Risch
"Princeton Architectural Press has done it again, producing a book that is as beautiful and tactile as it is thought-provoking and educational."
The Huffington Post:
"Fisher's work has drawn accolades from scientific and artistic communities around the world, and is also the subject of a book published by Princeton Architectural Press titled Bee,which has particular relevance given the looming threat of colony collapse. Speaking of this tiny but mighty creature, Fisher opines: Theirs is a peaceful society whose industries benefit life. Words to live by."
American Bee Journal:
"BEE is another kind of book altogether- a work of art celebrating science, or science celebrated in art."
Los Angeles Times Blog:
"Many of us have encountered electron microscope images before, whether in high school science textbooks, or on the Discovery Channel, but very rarely is it an artist who is sitting behind the lens. It's the beauty of the images in Fisher's book, and not just the amazing reality that they show us, that makes Bee special."
— Deborah Netburn
McNally Jackson Book Review:
"This is just pornography. Any of the book's claims to science are just thin excuses for photo after photo of hairy, sticky, hymenopteran goodness. Be sure to ask at the register, and we'll wrap this thing up in nondescript brown paper before you bring it home."
The Secret Life of Bees, BUST:
"Rose-Lynn Fisher takes a closer look at the honeybee and reveals beauty in science."