Isabel Bannerman acknowledges her debt to these trailblazers and to Robert Mapplethorpe, whose controversial work in the 1980s pushed the visual analogy between human and plant reproductive systems as far as it could go. But plants are Bannerman’s primary artistic medium, and her images document them in their own right. “I’ve become interested in their structural properties,” says Bannerman, not to mention their dynamics. “There are moments when they are changing rapidly—you can catch a fern when it is unfurling.” Characteristically, Bannerman also wrests inspiration from an England deep in photography’s prehistory. Mary Delaney, known as Mrs. Delaney, was an 18th-century English artist who pasted drawings of plants on black backgrounds to create mosaics of exquisite beauty that capture a pure love of flowers.
Above: Cruel Vine Smoking (Araujia sericifera).