Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2022) is the latest project from celebrated American photographer Janelle Lynch. This series is comprised of diaphanous cyanotypes and striking, large-format black and white photographs produced during six weeks of solitude along the Atlantic Ocean in Amagansett, New York, at the end of 2022. Endless Forms Most Beautiful draws its title from the final lines of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, adopted by Lynch to describe "what may exist beyond” the material world of Darwin’s scientific text.
Lynch's cyanotypes are physical recordings of natural elements: sea plants, an osprey wing and her own body, which she describes as "affirming the fundamental value of all life in its various manifestations, including the afterlife.” While insisting on the material, tangible presence of nature, the cyanotypes appear to allude to an extra-sensory realm. Citing spirit photography as an influence, the translucent, ephemeral presence of glowing forms and sprouting sea life appear to gesture to a sphere, Lynch writes, “beyond visual perception.” Three black-and-white large-format photographs extend these ideas. In a deviation from her career-long use of colour, Lynch’s compelling monochrome abstractions of coastal driftwood, flora and fauna reflect what she describes as "another kind of imagery that suggests essential matter and the celestial world.”