I first learned about scanner photography while reading an April 2005 column by garden columnist Ken Druse in the New York Times about Ellen Hoverkamp, a fine art photographer and art teacher in West Haven, Conn. Before I finished reading the article, I ran to my windowsill, grabbed some flowers, threw them on my office flatbed scanner, tossed my jacked over them and hit the scan button.

I was hooked.

I knew immediately that this technique would hold my interest for a long time, blending my interests in gardening, art, plant science and technology.

Hoverkamp (sadly, recently deceased) painstakingly arranged intricate bouquets on the platen of her flatbed scanner, and collaborated with Druse on two books, Natural Companions and The Scentual Garden.

I soon learned that I don’t have her patience. So most of the time now, I just scan individual plant parts and then assemble my arrangements using Photoshop.

The results often take me by surprise.

If you want to learn more about the evolution of my scanner art experiences, I pulled together a short video for a 2018 exhibition. Or here’s my latest slide deck for when teach a class in scanner art for Cornell University’s Art of Horticulture course.

I usually post my most recent works to Instagram (@cdcramer42) as long as you don’t mind wading through pictures of gardens, dogs and family. Visit the blog if you want to see more about how the sausage is made.

When I’m not scanning plants, I work as a communications specialist in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University.

If you have questions or comments or want to discuss collaborations or commissions, shoot me an email: cdcramer@gmail.com.

warm colored four square
An example of individual plant scans arranged digitally using Photoshop.
my first scan
My first scan while reading NYTimes article about Ellen Hoverkamp (April 2005)
patty chan demo
Art of Horticulture student Patty Chan (now a graduate student at UW-Madison) demonstrates basic scanning technique at the Sweep of Light opening: Arrange plants on scanner. Drape black shroud over frame. Press scan.
me and my boss with titan arum in Minns Garden
At Cornell, I mostly do website work, writing, editing, photography, video, etc. But when our Titan arums bloom I get to share my excitement about plants with curious visitors who come to see and smell.
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