Thursday, February 12, 2009

happy birthday, Darwin!

Taking a picture of one's own eye is not easy - or, at least, I think that it will take a good deal of practice to get it right.   The problem isn't just with the angle, but with focusing - even with an automatic focus, it's difficult to get the eyeball, rather than the mascara that's leaked into the wrinkles surrounding the eye.

If photographing one's eye seems an odd way to spend an evening, I'm doing this because it seems wrong to let Darwin's 200th birthday go by without sending a big Happy Birthday card in his direction.   And most fortuitously, reading Chris Otter's splendid new book The Victorian Eye, I found him quoting Darwin:
To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable 
contrivances for adjusting the focus to different
distances, for admitting different amounts of 
light, and for the correction of spherical 
and chromatic aberration, could have been 
formed by natural selection, seems, I freely 
confess, absurd in the highest degree.
The eye as a camera lens, it seems, might have done a better job
that my own photographic apparatus at adjusting itself to what's 
in front of it.... But it also seems absurd in the
highest degree that - as CNN were reporting today - only 
4 in every 10 Americans believe in the theory of evolution.  
Maybe things will be better by the time Darwin has three
hundred candles on his cake?

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