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Photographs by Mariana Cook
World-premier exhibition was at the BioAgenda 2004 Summit, December 5-7, 2004 

Publication available September 12, 2005

About the Exhibit, by Mariana Cook

In August of 2001, a commission to photograph 24 genome scientists brought me in contact with individuals who impressed me with their extraordinary intelligence and their directness. They spoke of their work with excitement and they were not offended by the fact that I didn’t know anything about science or their particular field of research. They were able to explain their work and its findings clearly. I was also impressed by the realization that 22 of the 24 scientists had stable personal lives, never divorced after decades of marriage. This struck me as odd because many of the scientists themselves were quite eccentric and yet all of them had their feet on the ground. It is an unusual combination.   I wished to photograph more scientists, but didn’t know how to go about choosing them. In February 2003, I happened to sit next to the founding publisher of Scientific American magazine, Gerard Piel. He directed the magazine for forty years. A few days later we had lunch and over the course of a few weeks, I compiled a list of forty scientists to photograph. Since then, I have photographed more than seventy scientists and am calling the book Faces of Science. It is intended for the general public who, like me, know little if anything about science. Of the seventy scientists I have photographed, almost thirty have received the Nobel Prize. Yet few people know who they are. The reason, I conclude, is because we assume science is fact. We do not think of it in connection with feeling or thought. We don’t think of science as linked to a human being, with a few exceptions like Einstein or Watson and Crick.  

The purpose of Faces of Science is to humanize scientists in a way not done before. In their texts (which they have either written or which I have edited from interviews I’ve conducted with them), I have asked them to speak of themselves. How did they first become interested in science? What psychological needs may have drawn them to it and been satisfied by their work? Why did one choose astronomy, for example, instead of biology? And then I have asked them to speak of their science. Gerard Piel, my adviser, who has written the introduction to the book, provided me with a specific “scientific” question for each one to address. In response, some have concentrated more on the scientific query, others on the personal. There is often a combination of the two. Together, the texts offer a look into the humanity of this extraordinary group of people who have been overlooked for the remarkable human beings they are. They offer the best of we homo-sapiens: Intellectual curiosity, a wish to help mankind, and an ability to work with others to accomplish their tasks.  

About Mariana Cook

Mariana Cook was born in New York City in 1955. The last protégé of Ansel Adams, Cook is best known for her intimate character studies of people both in and out of the public eye. Her photographs are held in a number of national and international collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries, in major magazines, and on television. Mariana Cook's books include the monograph Manhattan Island to Myself, and the much-acclaimed Fathers and Daughters; Couples; Mothers and Sons; and Generations of Women (all four published by Chronicle Books). Her latest project is the book Faces of Science, a series of photographs of famed scientists from around the world. Its scheduled release date is September 12, 2005. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.  

For more Information on Mariana Cook

Mariana Cook is represented by  

Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery 
Click on: Artists / Contemporary / Mariana Cook  

Lee Marks Fine Art 
Click on: Photographers / Mariana Cook  

Books by Mariana Cook  

Faces of Science

The book launch and exhibition opening will be at the New York Academy of Science, September 9, 2005.

Fathers and Daughters    


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