Amie Wilkinson, of the University of Chicago, at the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris. Images courtesy of Jessica Wynne

Photographer and Fashion Institute of Technology professor Jessica Wynne has spent the last year documenting the numbers, symbols, and models drawn by mathematicians onto chalkboards. The photos capture the thought processes and physical efforts of professionals in a medium that has been largely abandoned.

Wynne tells Colossal that she enjoys photographing the dusty work surfaces because of “their beauty, mystery and the pleasure of creating a permanent document of something that is ephemeral.” The “Do Not Erase” photo series, soon to be published in a book by Princeton University Press for release in 2020, includes boards from institutions and universities around the world. Wynne hopes that viewers can appreciate the aesthetic of the worked surfaces while “simultaneously appreciating that the work on the board represents something much deeper, beyond the surface.”

Wynne adds that she feels a “kinship” with the mathematicians. “Their imagination guides them and similar to an artist they have the higher aspiration to create, discover, and find truth.” For updates on the release of her book and for more interesting photo series, head over to Jessica Wynne’s website.

Shuai Wang, Columbia University.

David Gabai, Princeton University.

Andre Neves, then at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.

Sahar Khan, Columbia University.

David Damanik, Rice University.

Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, outside Paris.

Noga Alon, Princeton University.

Alex Zhongyi Zhang, Columbia University.

Tadashi Tokieda, Stanford University.



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