This project is an exploration of beauty as an antidote for personal and political crisis.

In times of heartache, disaster, impasse, many turn to the idea of beauty in the natural world as a place of refuge.  Writer and philosopher John O’Donohue states, “I think that beauty is not a luxury, but that it ennobles the heart and reminds us of the infinity that is within us.”  That idea resonates with me and inspired this project.

I have used a variety of botanicals in the images, many of them are often overlooked wildflowers or plants.  I gild them to recognize and elevate them; this acts as a metaphor for moments of beauty or transcendence in life, but also for people and political change. Gold used in artworks has historically been attributed to themes of reaching a higher being or sense of self.  I am considering beauty to be the fleeting moments of our higher selves and am interested in the multifaceted ways that can be experienced. This also speaks to how the images are symbolic of personal and political empowerment, particularly in our current times.

The final prints are made by photographing the botanicals, printing them on vellum, hand gilding them with 24k or 18k gold leaf, and hand applying varnish and wax.  The project is inspired by Anna Atkins’s botanical studies as well as Surrealist and Bauhaus photographers who manipulated imagery and materials such as Florence Henri, Dora Maar, and Maurice Tabard to visualize an imagined realm.


Marcy Palmer’s work circles around themes of home, beauty, nature, and science. Marcy has an M.F.A. in Photography & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts and a B.S. in Studio Art from Skidmore College.

Marcy’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at various spaces including The Griffin Museum of Photography, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Center for Photographic Art, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Center for Fine Art Photography, The Berlin Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography (GE), The Watershed Media Centre (UK), and other venues.  Her work has been written about in The Boston Globe Sunday Edition, D Magazine, Humble Arts Foundation, L’Oiel de la Photographie, Lenscratch, One Twelve, and other publications.  Marcy released a book with Yoffy Press at the end of 2020, titled “You Are Eternity, You Are the Mirror” which was chosen as a PhotoEye 2020 favorite photobook, The Luupe’s Best Women Made Photobooks of 2020, and one of Deep Red Press’s memorable photobooks of 2020.  She lives and works in Dallas, TX.

http://www.marcypalmer.comIG: @marcy_palmerFB: Marcy Palmer