ARTIST Lee Hendrickson
Born and raised outside Chicago, IL, Lee set up his first microscope in his basement laboratory at the tender age of 12. Paid for through money earned by shoveling snow in the brutally cold Chicago winters, Lee eventually fled to warmer climes of Atlanta, GA where he attended Emory University to pursue his education in the sciences. He obtained his B.S. in Biology 3.5 years later and shortly before graduation took his first photograph through a microscope. The subject was the rat flea, transmitter of the bubonic plague. Realizing the limited market potential of such subjects, Lee began a career as a research scientist that would span 35 years. Along the way he obtained a degree in Biomedical Photography from Bellevue College in Bellevue, WA. The program honed his skills in both macro and micro photography and it was during this formal photography training that his eyes were opened to the beautiful hidden world of crystals.
In 2005 Lee founded his company Side Street Photographics and not long afterward, having been caught up in his third corporate downsizing, Lee began developing the techniques for growing and photographing crystals through the microscope.
In his studio/lab he is actively investigating and experimenting with new crystalline compounds, capturing an infinite array of patterns in this beautiful microcrystalline world. Lee and his wife live in the Phoenix area. His artwork is exhibited as part of private and public collections worldwide. Lee is a skilled lecturer and has presented his unique story to artists, designers and photography enthusiasts alike.
Art and science allow us an opportunity to experience the joy of exploration and discovery. By combining these two disciplines, my new and imaginative art form allows artist and viewer alike to explore the microscopic world of crystals. My background as both a research scientist and my degree in biomedical photography has led me to develop specialized techniques for growing, then photographing crystals through the microscope. Magnified thousands of times the infinite crystalline patterns that result are both fragile and transient, but capable of creating brilliant rainbows of color as the illuminating white light is refracted through their facets. My images create a subconscious and highly personal connection with their fractal beauty, enlightening our inner creative artist through the joy of their discovery.
Lee Hendrickson’s photography of crystals draws on his experience as both a research scientist and his formal training in photography. By weaving together the fields of art and science, an intimate and unique view of nature is revealed in his beautiful and thought provoking images.
After growing the crystals on a microscope slide, the intricate beauty of these “molecular landscapes” is magnified thousands of times and captured using a high-resolution digital imaging microscope. The colors are the natural process of light refracting through the crystals, often producing a rainbow of colors. Though highly representational, the resulting image’s aesthetic feels both contemporary and abstract, and the story behind his artwork fascinates the viewer as much as the natural elegance of the subject.