Although many students in UCLA’s Department of Information Studies have had internship and job experience that often leads to prestigious positions in a variety of fields, it is uncommon for students like Brandy Watts to end up with a published book before graduation. However, the MLIS candidate, who graduates this spring, has done just that. Her volume on “The Field Photographs of Alain H. Liogier: Plants of Hispaniola, Dominican Republic, 1968-1969” (New York: New York Botanical Garden Press. 2017, Print) examines the renowned botanist’s practice of capturing plant specimens through Kodachrome prints that depict each of them in their natural environment.
While earning her first master’s degree in lens-based media at the School of Visual Arts, Watts worked as an intern at the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium at the New York Botanical Garden, which involved curating and digitizing plant specimens for a project on the Caribbean region, she came across a specimen of Liogier’s, which attracted her attention.
“[Liogier had] collected some 20,000 specimens, and roughly 217 of them had field photographs attached to the specimen sheets, which is an unusual method for botanists,” says Watts. “The field photograph shows the plant specimen growing in its natural habitat before having been collected. By attaching it to the specimen sheet, Liogier may have seen a certain research value in having all the collection material together, which consists of the plant specimen, collection label, locality map, and field photograph.”
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