Thursday, 24 November 2011

Alfred Russel Wallace goes all 'Pop Art'

For those who know anything about the diverse (and often controversial) thinking of Alfred Russel Wallace will know that often he was very forward thinking from the point of view of modern eyes.

As well as co-discovering the theory of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin and helping develop the field of biogeography he supported, amongst other things, conservationism and sustainability, 'equality of opportunities' for all and vegetarianism. He was often a pioneer with concerns which are remarkably contemporary including his writings on the possibility of life on Mars which, as Professor Charles H. Smith notes, is now seen as one of the 'pioneer works in the field of exobiology' (although whether he realised that less than 100 years after his death that simulations were being run to travel to the far-flung planet).

It was thinking about this 'modern' side of Wallace when I realised that very few pictures reveal this potential relevancy of Wallace.Victorian and Edwardian photographs always, quite naturally, look rather dated and often rather stuffy. More often than not, this misses the colour and vitality of Wallace's long life and work.

If a picture paints a thousand words, I thought, maybe I should have a go at translating this for a modern audience. I thus set about bringing a portrait of Wallace up to date and. hopefully, make it more eye-catching to those I talk to in regards to Wallace.

Alfred Russel Wallace: the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection

I thus had a go at creating a 'Pop Art' image of Wallace using as my template one of my favourite images of Wallace. Although this style of image has been used very often (almost to the extent of becoming a cliche) I thought the end result was more than good enough for starters. Please do tell me what you think.

1 comment:

  1. For those interested in finding out more about some of the topics of interest for Wallace noted above. Below are a handful of items (mostly from Wallace himself). There is, however, a huge amount on these interests in the various works on Wallace;

    Alfred Russel Wallace, ‘On the Physical Geography of the Malay Archipelago’, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 33 (1863), pp. 217-234 [In particular, see his concluding comments on p. 234]

    Sandra Knapp, ‘Wallace, Conservation, and Sustainable Development’ in Charles H. Smith and George Beccaloni (eds), Natural Selection & Beyond: the intellectual legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace (Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 201-220

    Alfred Russel Wallace, Studies, Scientific and Social, 2 vols (London; Macmillan, 1900), p. 2:516

    Alfred Russel Wallace, My Life: a record of events and opinions, 2 vols (London; Chapman & Hall, 1908), p. 2:229-230.

    Alfred Russel Wallace, Is Mars Habitable? (London; Macmillan, 1907)

    Alfred Russel Wallace, Island Life (London; Harper & Brothers, 1881)

    Bernard Michaux, ‘Alfred Russel Wallace, Biogeographer’ in Charles H. Smith and George Beccaloni (eds), Natural Selection & Beyond: the intellectual legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace (Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 166-185