Photo by Becky Jaffe

Artist Talk at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery


This Friday evening, I will give an artist talk at the Abrams Claghorn gallery in Albany. I will explain how to take nature photographs that look like paintings without the use of photoshop, and why it is worth our while to while away our precious time admiring the natural world. You are warmly invited to join me for an evening of art, biophilia, and hobnobbing. I hope to see you there!

From the gallery:

Robert Abrams, gallery owner and curator, is delighted to present the next in a series of artist talks. This event is free of charge.

This month features ceramic sculptor Natasha Dikareva and nature photographer and naturalist Becky Jaffe. Both artists tap into the natural world for inspiration, but otherwise couldn’t be more different.

Becky Jaffe’s fine art photography explores the art of “Biophilia”, the innate sense of kinship we recognize with other living beings. Using in-camera techniques that stretch the photographic medium to create painterly effects, she fuses an artist’s sensibility with a biologist’s curiosity in order to communicate reverence for the natural world. She enjoys photographing birds and tropical insects in particular, and relishes those moments when the insects appear to be studying her.

Natasha Dikareva is known for her surreal, exquisitely formed human figures which often morph into other biological forms such as birds, fish and trees. Dikareva’s latest work, developed during an intense introspective period, confronts the idea of physical security in relation to current events in the world.

Respect Your Elders

whiptail scorpionPhoto by Becky Jaffe

The Whiptail Scorpion is neither a spider nor a scorpion but a relative of both. It is an ancient species that appears in the fossil record 416 million years ago, predating humans (Homo sapiens) by a humbling 415,900,000 years. I believe the saying “Respect Your Elders” applies to this handsome ancestor. I was lucky to find him hiding among the rootlets during a night hike in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Further Investigations in the Art of Procrastination

art of procrastinationPhoto by Becky Jaffe. Procrastination sponsored by tax season.



albino horse

Photo by Becky Jaffe

Sometimes you round a bend in rural Haiti and stumble across an albino horse nestled in a thicket of calla lilies.

Happy Giving Thanks

simple reflection-3



My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

– Mary Oliver


to have

Empty-handed I entered
the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

– Kozan Ichikyo

Genital Plugs, Projectile Penises, & Gay Butterflies: A Naturalist Explains the Birds and the Bees this Wednesday, March 20th from 8 to 10 pm


Please join me on March 20th for Nerd Nite SF. If you haven’t heard of Nerd Nite, imagine Ted Talks on tequila. Nerd Nite offers a casual and occasionally drunken venue to geek out over the entertaining side of science. This Wednesday I am delighted to be one of three guest nerds presenting. I will lead you on a romp through Mother Nature’s freaky side, surveying some of the more outlandish ways animals do the wild thing. Audience members will form teams to compete in a pub quiz-style trivia game with prizes of the salacious biological variety. Just in time for Spring, this talk is guaranteed to cause a bioorgasm.

Where: the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St, San Francisco
When: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Cost $8


Bugpeople are my people: Insect Sciences Museum March 9th from 1-3 pm

my new roommate


Greetings from my new roommate, Ms. Eurycantha calcarata!  This impressive stick insect, about the size of a quarter, is the best honorarium I ever received. Thank you to Eddie Dunbar and the members of the Insect Sciences Museum for hosting me as guest presenter last Saturday, March 9th. The event was held at the Rotary Nature Center at Lake Merritt, the nation’s first wildlife refuge, established in 1870. It was a special pleasure to talk with other insect enthusiasts who are working right here in Oakland cataloging endemic species, organizing educational outreach programs for children and adults, and generally spreading the Arthropod appreciation.