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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition, Transitions: Photographs by Robert Creamer,

Mar 12, 2009
For Immediate Release

New England debut March 25, at the Montshire Museum of Science.

NORWICH, VT -- Digital technology reveals the beauty of nature in Robert Creamer’s latest work. Transitions: Photographs by Robert Creamer, an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), showcases how beauty can be found in the most unexpected places.

Transitions will be on view at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont from March 25 to May 24, 2009, and will then continue on an 11-city, national tour through 2011.

Robert Creamer is renowned for using contemporary digital technology to convey a melancholy beauty. “I’m challenging the traditional notion of beauty as something perfect and flawless,” said Creamer about his photographs, many of which show flowers in various stages of decay. In creating the works for this stunning exhibition, Creamer traded his usual camera for a flatbed scanner. His compositions use flora and fauna that are placed directly on the scanner in aesthetic arrangements or suspended over it. The resulting detail is eerily lifelike and yet incredibly expressive.

Transitions features 39 of Robert Creamer’s high-resolution images created exclusively for the exhibition. Many are paired to show a subject in transition. This exhibition also features a video by videographer Jeannie Yoon about Creamer’s scanning and printing techniques. “My maturing imagination returns me again and again to botanicals. I enjoy exploring the transitory nature of beauty and am constantly enthused by the serendipitous understandings and new relationships that this technique reveals to me,” said Creamer.

Robert Creamer’s association with the Smithsonian began when he scanned a variety of objects and specimens at the Naturalist Center, an educational outreach facility of the National Museum of Natural History located near Leesburg, Virginia. That experience led to scans of the scientific collections housed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Creamer has transitioned multiple times himself during the 30 years of his professional photography career. His talents include botany, photography, natural history and teaching. He is also a widely published fine art and architectural photographer. He started using the scanner on a whim in 2002 when he found a dead hummingbird in his Maryland neighborhood. After experimenting with the bird, he continued to scan plants and animals from his backyard and those that were brought home to him by his children and even his cat. Those initial scans inspired his artistic vision catapulting him to a new realm of visual art. He began selecting material based on his intuition of how it would develop in the short time ahead and how it would look like scanned. He monitored his specimens closely looking for the exact moment that some new point of view was revealed.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.