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Joseph Bellows Gallery : The Gift of Flowers : X-ray photographs by Dr. Dain L. Tasker

Joseph Bellows Gallery celebrates the holiday with a special offering of Dr. Dain L. Tasker’s personal collection of vintage X-ray photographs, These rare prints have remained in the photographer’s family since  his death in 1964.
“Dr. Dain L. Tasker has emerged from obscurity to join the pantheon of photography masters. His oeuvre has some of the medium’s most sublimely minimalist images of flowers.
All softness and no bone, flowers would seem to be unlikely candidates for X-rays. But in the 1930’s, about three decades after the discovery of this penetrating form of radiation, Tasker used fine-focus X-ray tubes to produce his floral studies on X-ray film. Tasker, the chief radiologist at Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles, was an amateur photographer with an eye for simplicity.
Unlike Imogen Cunningham, who gave calla lilies and magnolias a full-blown majesty, Tasker reduced flowers like the lily, the open lotus and the iris to their bare essentials. His black-and-white prints, made from X-ray negatives, could be nature’s sketchbook for flowers.
“Flowers are the expression of the love life of plants,” Tasker once wrote, and the eroticism is often veiled, sometimes overt. A calla lily is a swirl of diaphanous folds enclosing an erect stamen; a shadowy philodendron is boldly phallic. In his exploration of flowers as fragile mysteries, Tasker used petals, stamens, leaves and stalks almost as musical notes to compose his quirkily beautiful adagios.”

– Margarett Loke, The New York Times


Joseph Bellows Gallery
7661 Girard Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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