In Focus is a series of photographs produced by established scientific methodologies used for exploring the anatomy of the eye. This project aims to inspire our quest for knowledge and imagination. For the last three years, my research has been focused on unravelling the visual perception of the non-human ‘Other’. By utilizing sciences and arts, I intend to reveal as well as speculate, a reality that is more holistic and sensorial, rather than strictly defined through technology and our anthropocentric limitations. My particular animals of interest are lungfishes, a group of freshwater fishes that are the closest living relative to the ancestors of all terrestrial vertebrates. They have a unique position in the evolution of land vertebrates, as their visual machinery consists of many characteristics that made vision out of water possible.
These photographs catalogue the laborious removal of a lens less than 0.5mm in diameter from the eye of a juvenile African lungfish through light microscopy. The images captured not only provide scientific information about the anatomy of a lungfish’s eye, but they also reveal other aspects which are more abstract. When images of this nature are taken and presented in different contexts (or out of context), they generate different responses. Scientific knowledge to do with the visual reality of the ‘Other’ will always carry an element of mystery that we can engage with in a more aesthetic and poetic way. By investigating the intangible nature of visual perception, specifically of the non-human animal, and directly engaging with the ‘Other’ through art and science, I hope to come closer to seeing through another’s eyes.
These photographs of Protopterus dolloi were aided by Ionat Zurr, Shaun P. Collin, Nathan S. Hart, SymbioticA, The School of Animal Biology and The School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at UWA. The images were taken using a camera attached to a dissection microscope at various magnifications.