John Ott was a time-lapse photographer of plants and animals who worked with Disney, his work is an amazing testament of how important light and its various wavelengths were on the health of plants in particular. His experiments with the light on fish and animals showed how different wavelengths could potentially influence their sex and chronic health issues such as cancer. When photographing a project of tomato plants that had a virus that were originally kept in a glass greenhouse, he introduced them into his own plastic greenhouse with a variance in the light spectrum and the plants became strong and healthy again. His research also found that mice susceptible to getting cancer when kept under different lighting conditions caused the cancer to take variations in timescale to develop depending on the lighting conditions they were kept under. His work showed that those kept under natural light took longer to get cancer than those kept under florescent lighting His observations on sunlight, plants, and health in his book Health and Light highlighted his thoughts on viruses and are extremely interesting to know were purely learnt from his observations from his time-lapse photography.
“In what I have learned about viruses, no consideration has been given to the possibility of a virus originating within the living cells of the plant itself – (developing from pleomorphic Somatids). It seems to be generally accepted that the virus must be introduced from an outside source. The metabolism, or life itself, that goes on within a living cell is the utilization of the nutritional factors present by the energy of light. The nutritional factors are like the coal or oil used for fuel to fire a boiler, and the light energy could be compared to the fire that burns it.
If the draft in the boiler is not adjusted right, or the carburettor is giving too rich a mixture, there will be incomplete combustion. This can result in both the boiler and engine giving off not only obnoxious smoke and fumes but also partially consumed fuel. In a similar way, it seems quite possible that a chemical substance of a poisonous nature could result as a by-product from an incomplete or unbalanced metabolism within the cells of a leaf. This could result from either a nutritional factor as in the case of wheat virus or light deficiency as with the tomato virus.”
We live our lives now from cradle to grave under artificial light, children don’t and are not encouraged to play outside as they would once have done, the air is polluted in our cities blocking the light. We are in most of our days, studying for exams, doing homework, playing and working on computers, watching our TVs or mobile devices, we are surrounded by artificial light. Rather than working out and exercising outdoors we now even do that inside an artificially lit box, and when it is sunny we are wearing sunglasses that block light from getting in through the eyes to the pineal gland. John Ott found that wearing glasses would alter the light spectrum entering the eyes, and felt that this mattered and would impact on the endocrine system. His observations left a lasting impression on me and why I want to be outside in the light, and I suggest that if you haven’t looked at his work to go do so because it is fascinating.