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  • Writer's pictureLisa Davis

15 Ways Scanner Art and Life Are A Lot Alike

The blossom, petals, bud, and stems of the gloxinia plant being arranged facedown on a scanner to form a flower fairy
Parts of a Gloxinia Becoming a Fairy

For those who don’t know what Scanner Art is, it’s utilizing a flatbed scanner in place of a camera to capture an image. It can also be called Scanner Photography, or Scannography.

Although different artists have different techniques, what I do consists of multiple steps. First I collect plant parts and elements of nature, usually from my flowerbeds, the woods behind my house, or the surrounding countryside. I arrange the materials face down, directly on the glass surface of my scanner, remembering that the image will be a mirror image of the way items are placed on the scanner. I’m also working backwards—what I see on top of the scanner is what no one sees because it becomes the back of a 2-D image. I preview and rearrange many times. Only when I am satisfied do I hit the “scan” button. I complete the resulting digital image in a computer graphic arts program, which is usually the most time-intensive part.

Flowers and plant parts are layered face-down on the flatbed scanner
Scanning a Blue Hydrangea Bouquet

Here are the ways creating Scanner Art is a lot like life:

1. They are both processes that take time.

2. They are both challenging.

3. Neither can be rushed.

4. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, things just don’t work out.

5. No matter how much you know, there’s always something to learn.

6. Sometimes everything falls into place, and sometimes it’s a real struggle.

7. Things don’t always turn out the way you expect them too.

8. Both are confining: the art must be done within the confines of the flatbed scanner bed; life must be lived within the confines of a body.

9. Sometimes good enough IS your best.

10. Nothing is perfect, but chances are, you will be the only one dwelling on those imperfections.

11. Just because you like the way it turns out doesn’t mean everyone will.

12. You can only truly see one side of a picture because your perspective is limited.

13. Seeing things in black and white or shades of grey, both in my art and in life, is limiting. They are meant to be experienced in vivid, living-color.

14. Concentrating on where you are at the current moment is best, because if you think ahead to all there is to do, you could be overwhelmed.

15. Both life and art are best when shared.

Fairies wearing flowers joyfully dancing
A Fairy Dance Party

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