Discovering The True Beauty Of Shells

1226 words - 5 pages

Taylor McLeanProfessor BreauxEnglish 101-6330 September 2014Works CitedMhire, Herman. "Biography." Herman Mhire- Biography. Web. <>.Garcia, Emilio. "Sea Shell Discoveries." Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LA. 21 Sept. 2014. Lecture.Mhire, Herman. Herman Mhire- Emilio Garcia The Art and Science of Shells. 2014. Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LA.Taylor McLeanProfessor BreauxEnglish 101-6330 September 2014Discovering the True Beauty of ShellsUsing the most ubiquitous of cameras- the cell phone- Lafayette based artist Herman Mhire has spent the last two years capturing the subtle beauty of one of nature's most beautiful creations, the shell. Prior to retirement in 2005, he was named a Distinguished Professor of Visual Arts in the College of the Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Director/ Chief Curator of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, where he organized more than 200 exhibitions including traveling exhibitions presented in the United States, Canada, and Europe (Mhire). While shopping for souvenirs in a Florida store, Mhire's shell adventure began with a tiger stripped snail shell. Captivated by its beauty, Mhire had found a new muse for his artwork. He was originally a painter but wanted to start experimenting with photography. Although Mhire purchased an expensive camera for this project, he quickly discovered that he was getting much better results by using an iPhone 4S. Photographing only one shell was not enough for Mhire. A friend happened to inform Mhire about Doctor Garcia, who readily shared his collection.Mhire was able to select his subjects from more than 100,000 specimens from 7,000 different species, collected by Dr. Emilio Garcia, a renowned malacologist whose fascination for shells began in childhood. Garcia was also a citizen of Lafayette. At the University of Lafayette, he was a teacher of Latin American literature. Despite being a member of the science department, Garcia started malacology as a hobby at age two in his native Cuba. For the past nine years, Dr. Garcia has been recording the biodiversity of mollusks living in the Gulf of Mexico.Although this exhibit is the first time Garcia's shells were presented artfully, Mhire's perspective does not concentrate only on the shell's natural state. After showing the original shell photos to critics at a national photography convention, they suggested that he consider using Photoshop to manipulate the shells. Mhire went home and started manipulating with the physical design of the shells, increasing the size to highlight each of the individual characteristics and details, and eventually creating faces. Therefore visitors will not only see the original photo of each shell, but they will also experience a glimpse of the creatures that emerged from Mhire's imagination.In association with Herman Mhire - Emilio Garcia: The Art & Science of Shells exhibit currently on view at the...

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