Gabrielle Belisle '17

Anna Atkins, Honey Locust Leaf and Pod, 1854

Clark University Student Gabrielle Belisle works on Worcester Art Museum Cyanotypes

The piece I worked on this semester was Anna Atkins's 1854 photogram, Honey Locust Leaf and Pod, the earliest piece featured in the exhibition. Anna Atkins was the first female photographer and her cyanotypes are a blending of the arts and sciences, using her love of botany to create beautiful, eye-catching pieces.

Working with her cyanotype first hand has been a privilege and an incredibly rewarding experience. Spending time examining the piece up close has allowed me to see that even the tiniest flaws can help us understand the print as creative artwork instead of a purely scientific recording. In addition, I was able to see the ins and outs of the work that goes into choosing the matting and framing to best display the uneven edges of the page that show the artist's hand.

As a student looking to go into museum work and publishing, I have gained incredibly valuable and practical experiences seeing and participating in the process of designing the gallery, writing labels, writing catalog essays, and marketing exhibitions.