the community site for and by developmental biologists

2 thoughts on “What Illustrators See that a Camera Can’t”

  1. Beautiful post! (And not only bc of the pictures)
    I could not agree more on the importance and added value of illustration. A photograph captures a specimen, whereas an illustration can capture the “ideal object”.
    It is the same with field guides (for insects or birds): illustrations highlight the features the observer should be looking for and that would be most telling.

  2. Full disclosure: I am biased, although my bias began when Mike Levin and I agreed that Ms. Zahn was the illustrator for the job. That we were right in our choice is abundantly clear from what she has already contributed and what she continues to work on. I had the pleasure of meeting with her this morning, in fact, to discuss the line drawings she is finalizing for the collection. What I did not know in advance was what a good writer she is. Her insights on the value of illustration remind me of the ideas of Dr. Rodolph Sepulchre of Cambridge University concerning what makes a mind different from a computer. While a computer will always be better at computing, a mind has the ability to zero in and ignore, or even forget, that which is unimportant at any given moment. I recommend watching his TedX Talk on you tube: ( I also recommend visiting to zero in on Ms. Zahn’s other insights into Nature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *