Student mixes passions for nature, design to publish photography book

Nora Logue ’14 captures scenes from three Lake Forest nature preserves in her self-published book The Beauty of Ephemeral Things, the culminating project of her Advanced Computer Imaging class and a demonstration of how two areas of study — in her case, environmental studies and digital media design — can work together.

Logue credits two professors in the acknowledgments of her 60-something page book: Glenn Adelson, Associate Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies, and Tracy Marie Taylor, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media Design Program Chair.

Logue traveled with Adelson and his summer flora classes to various habitats in the Greater Chicago Area and Wisconsin last summer to document plant species for an online catalog. She thought to herself, “I have all of these images. What is another way I can use them?” Enter Taylor’s class, which provided her with a semester-long framework for planning, designing, and publishing a project of her choosing, complete with peer editors. Other student projects included a style blog, a book on typography, a web site for a business, and an animation.

Taylor said primary goal for the class is to teach students how to be self-sufficient learners.

“Students often find it difficult to develop their own ideas for artwork, and are rarely given an entire semester to pursue one major studio project, even though that amount of time is needed to create serious, mature bodies of work,” she said. “I wanted to create a semi-structured environment that empowered each student to pursue one major studio project of their own creation, from start to finish, over the course of a semester.”

Logue used kickstarter.com and social media to nearly double her goal of raising $900 to publish her images into a book on high quality paper. Among the donors were her classmates, family members, and even a few Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents who she has never met. She was able to order more copies of the book with the additional funding. She held her own copy for the first time in mid-December.

Logue is selling her book on Blurb.com for $59.97 and, if all goes well, hopes to see it on the shelves of local bookstores, too.

“I love nature. People can find so much beauty, comfort and peace in it,” she said. “I’m hoping this book will bring people just a little closer to nature and the wonder a person can find in it. I hope to instill a sense of appreciation for the beauty of ephemeral things.”

The book is divided into three parts, one for each of the three locations she captured photographically on her Nikon D90: Shaw Prairie, McCormick Ravine, and Shooting Star Savannah, which is right on the Lake Forest College campus. Logue uses handwritten typography and some fonts throughout the book and includes an index of species. Her friend and classmate Jason Halm ’14 wrote the forward.

One of her favorite pictures is of a doe she came across on one hike with Adelson. The doe, partially hidden among tall grass, stared right at them and was still even though they were very close.

“I can’t stop looking at this picture sometimes. It was an amazing experience,” she said.