Artist Profile Amy Lamb

Art in the City

ThreeTulips II ©2008 ©Amy Lamb, all rights reserved
Digital Pigment Print

Artist Profile: Amy Lamb 

Amy Lamb goes way beyond taking exquisite photographs of magnificent flowers. She combines science, personal identity and passion to produce images that reach another dimension. She exalts both the “architecture of the natural world,” and our indefinable exhilaration with natural beauty.

 Amy is a biologist who is as intrigued with the function as much as the appearance of the living organism. True beauty is in what it was born to do, from seedling, to full bloom, to fading and drooping

She grows her flowers, watching each species through its entire lifecycle—an inherited progression that repeats itself with minute changes, creating individuals with singular pride. She explores every secret, every nuance. 

When she is familiar with the flower as any human can be, she bathes it with light and attention. Her final photograph is not just of an instant in the short life of a bloom, it is an epic story of a life form. 

Amy turned to photography because her scientific discipline, cell biology, is so specialized that it is inaccessible to most people, whereas visual images are open to almost everyone. She studied photography at Montgomery College and the Corcoran School of Art.

Her photos are digital, and printed large, but not altered. “By enlarging the image, you see elements of the individual flower you might not otherwise notice.” The inner workings of even ordinary, simple blossoms have their own glory.

You have seen her work on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine, The American Gardener and in numerous publications nationally. She has exhibited in dozens of group and solo shows.

Amy Lamb’s eloquent black and white platinum prints, fiddleheads, daisies and Calla Lilies, can be seen this month with another terrific artist, Anne Marchand at the Heurich  Gallery, (See At the Galleries.) Her full color work can be seen at

Jim Magner’s Thoughts On Art

Beauty. The subject came up with Amy Lamb. (See Artist Profile.) She classifies flowers as simply beautiful, and others as “interesting,” which means that they may be less magnificent to those who are not biologists. That’s true.

Untold numbers of artists and writers have expressed opinions on beauty, from Aristotle to Ansel Adams. There is much agreement, yet much contention. Some writers offer narrow definitions, and others exclude nothing. But let’s face it, not everything is equally gorgeous.

Some, like Corot, are a little hard to pin down: “Beauty in art is truth bathed in an impression obtained from nature.” Hmmm. But I think he is closer than the others who see beauty out there. It’s not there, it’s here, inside my brain. The rose is lovely to me, not the ant climbing up the petal.

Beauty is exclusively a human thing. But, sadly, not all humans choose to exercise it. Some people look at a sunset and see only the coming darkness.

So I say, to see beauty, you have to see beautifully—you must look with an exalted effort.  You need penetrating emotion. It has to reach into the human mind and shake it hard. 

Three artists described in this column do that in very different ways. Amy Lamb, takes exquisitely precise photos of exquisite biological jewels. Anne Marchand, with no obvious subject, goes beyond pure abstract to paint a portrait of her own forceful physical, and spiritual, search. Dana Ellen paints intense opinion, layered with ferocious figurative satire, slathered with brilliant color.

You wouldn’t think that they share anything, but they care deeply about their subjects, and put all of themselves into it. They leave you contemplating the value of life beyond anything that can be simply measured

And that is my final thought for the year: Care deeply about art and you will care deeply about life. Happy holidays and a Happy New Year.

At the Galleries


Dunes Gallery - 1402 Meridian Pl NW - Dec. 6 – Jan. 31

Time stops on Dec. 21, 2012—on least one Mayan calendar. The end of the world? Maybe the Mayan astronomers figured they were safely ahead of themselves and slipped off to watch a few heads roll and didn’t get back. But maybe they discovered something in the heavens that knocked their ixtle fibre Cacles off. We’ll see.

If doom is upon us, Dana Ellen and about 20 other artists, including her married partner Matt Sesow, are going out the artist way, with works on the wall and wine in the glass.

The art itself sticks its collective tongue out at all previous predictions of apocalyptic end. The artists, some pros, some semi-pros and a few students of Dana, each take their shot in their own way at raptures, doomsdays, and global mayhem in general—religious or secular.

It is intended to be irreverent, wild and fun. Undoubtedly offensive to some, but never mean, the show will be up from December 6, to Jan. 31, barring the end of time. The opening party, Dec.  21,7-?, celebrates the art and the oft prognosticated end with music and drink.

Be there if you dare. 

Amy Lamb – Ann Marchand

Heurich Gallery at Boston Properties - 505 Ninth St. NW - Dec. 12 – Mar. 6

Amy Lamb, (see Artist Profile) photographs ever-evolving life through the stunning exuberance of flowers. Ann Marchand also investigates the forces of nature by creating tensions between polar opposites, and their relationships to a still point. The tensions create movement within the saturated colors, and between dynamic expanding forms. The textures of the layered acrylic paints add to the physical and mystic sensations she explores. Rec: Wed. Dec. 12, 5-7

"CHAW Holiday Fete"
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop - 545 7th Street, SE

Saturday, Dec. 8 is the big day at CHAW.  Starting at noon, you can begin your holiday shopping with art works and ceramics by CHAW’s teaching artists. You can continue your gift getting at the annual “Give Art and Wrap It Up” Holiday Party and Sale.  It goes from 4 - 8. You buy works from artists who exhibit at the gallery and they wrap it up for you right there and then. It’s fast and fun…and reasonable!

Photographers take note: CHAW is accepting submissions for its 7th annual Photography Exhibit. All types are accepted (“If you think it involves photography…”) The show runs from Feb. 2 to Mar. 1. Submit your entries by Dec. 14, at

A Capitol Hill artist and writer, Jim can be reached at Jim’s award-winning book, “A Haunting Beauty” can be acquired through

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