About Plant Pathology Photos

THIS EXPLORE CORNELL FEATURE offers images captured by a succession of four Cornell University science photographers over the past 100 years. The small galleries assembled here span a period of great advances in plant pathology -- the study of plant diseases -- and in the photographic methods which are so central to the discipline.

Kent Loeffler, scientific photographer for the Department of Plant Pathology, has collaborated with Explore Cornell to present some of his most impressive images of plants and creatures, depicted in the studio and in situ. Loeffler's extraordinary photos evoke the wonders of nature with grace and clarity. They constituted the primary motivation behind the creation of Plant Pathology Photos.

When Loeffler became departmental photographer in 1985, he was just the third person to fill the position since it was created in 1907 by the nascent Department of Plant Pathology. His two predecessors, Willis Fisher and Howard Lyon, had served for about 40 years each, and together left an archive of over 60,000 photos in various formats. Explore Cornell showcases a selection of these, as well as earlier photos of mushrooms taken during the 1890's by renowned plant pathologist G.F. Atkinson.

This issue of Explore Cornell aims to stimulate interest in the intersection of art and science, and to increase awareness of Cornell's tremendous science collections. Plant Pathology Photos draws on several of these, including the Plant Pathology archive; the Cornell University Insect Collection with its 6 million specimens; and the Plant Pathology Herbarium, containing about 400,000 unique specimens not held by any other institution.

Begin with Science Photos by Kent Loeffler...

Cladonia crisatella. Photo: K. Loeffler. Copyright © Cornell Center for Fungal Biology (CCFB).

Peziza sp. Photo: K. Loeffler. Copyright © CCFB.

Fomes fomentarius. Photo: K. Loeffler. Copyright © CCFB.