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Scenery sparks creativity

Dr. Edwin Flournoy, a retired Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital physician, recently submitted a set of three photographs for the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit at the Albany Museum of Art through Dec. 30. This photo was taken at a stream in the Smoky Mountains.

Dr. Edwin Flournoy, a retired Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital physician, recently submitted a set of three photographs for the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit at the Albany Museum of Art through Dec. 30. This photo was taken at a stream in the Smoky Mountains.

ALBANY — Sometimes, all you have to do is look into your own backyard to see something inspiring.

That’s what Dr. Edwin Flournoy has caught onto in his spare time. He is among a group of physicians who recently submitted their pieces for the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit currently at the Albany Museum of Art, 311 Meadowlark Drive. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free.

Flournoy, who retired from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in 2007, picked up an interest in photography at an early age.

“It was my father’s hobby,” he recalled. “He had a beautiful camera, and I fell in love with the operation of the camera itself — so I learned how to use it.”

He grew up polishing his photography skills, and took a few courses in the process. In the 1990s, he was part of a group that went with a retired photographer who spent a two-year period visiting destinations such as Alaska, Europe and Africa.

“I got to loving photography when I found out that I could reproduce what I saw so closely,” Flournoy said.

Since then, Flournoy hasn’t taken any more courses — but has managed to take a few trips into the Western states in his retirement.

His commitment to the art exhibit came after he received a call from Lacy Lee, co-chair of the Phoebe Centennial Committee, who recalled photos he had taken previously that had been on display at the hospital.

Flournoy primarily draws his inspiration, and the interest in his chosen medium, from the scenery around him.

“Photography has the ability to attract a certain element of ourselves that appreciates what God has created,” he said. “I think photography is the best way of expressing it.

“In a scene, I pick out what I think shows God’s love for the beauty of things most effectively. If I can express what I feel is God’s creation and beauty through photography, that is what I try to do.”

Flournoy submitted three photos. One was of a set of three stone arches from the West that had been created as a result of wind and sand eroding the stone beneath them. Another was of a church steeple in Nova Scotia in which the cross was highlighted by the sunlight behind it. The third was of a stream in the Smoky Mountains.

“We are such city dwellers that we don’t appreciate the beauty of nature,” Flournoy said. “If we can add beauty to what we are doing, it would make life more fulfilling.

“If we could do that, it would make for a more meaningful experience.”

Flournoy has not had an opportunity to do much photography lately, but he is hoping to remedy that.

“I want to get back into film photography,” he said. “It brings out the beauty more than digital does, I think.

“With the economy the way it is, it’s expensive to travel, so I’ve got to take it easy. There is probably a lot in Albany that can be experienced through photography.”

What Flournoy gets out of this hobby is what he hopes the public will get out of the current exhibit.

“It’s good to have these shows periodically to enlighten people to the beauty of things,” he said. “It’s a way of enlightening people to appreciate the world.

“I think if people appreciated the world more we would want to take better care of it.”

The “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit is meant to celebrate the relationship between visual art and medicine through works by ancient and contemporary artists as well as medical illustrators, along with submitted works by local physicians. It will be open through Dec. 30, and is being sponsored by Phoebe in celebration of its centennial.

There are works in the exhibit from the High Museum of Art, the Telfair Museum, the Columbus Museum, the Medical Illustration Graduate Program at Georgia Health Sciences University and the Norman Rockell Museum.

It includes works from Georgia and Albany area artists such as Lamar Dodd’s “Heart Series,” and Samuel Lightsey documenting an Albany surgery. It also includes Ethiopian art donated by Marguerite Burt, a nurse who worked in Gondar in the late 1950s.