Cypress shadow, Great Meadow, by Stephen Kane
“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” This exaltation, expressed in words by Joyce Kilmer, is conveyed visually in a new photography exhibit on display at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture in San Francisco.
Capturing a garden’s vitality through a camera’s lens can pose a challenge — trying to do so in winter is even harder. Photographer Karen Bell has led seasonal photography workshops at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden since 2005. Here, she offers a few tips for creating compelling outdoor images.
For gardeners who can’t see beyond the splendor of flowers and foliage, New York illustrator and photographer Sarah Rosado is opening their eyes to the ugly duckling of the garden bed by transforming ordinary dirt into whimsical works of art. For her latest project, which she calls “Dirty Little Secrets,” Rosado reveals not only the hidden aesthetic potential of soil, but also its ability to convey a meaningful message.
terra cibus no. 39: cabbage
Jessica Rath is neither a pomologist nor a horticulturalist. She's not even particularly fond of eating apples. The Los Angeles-based artist's interest in apples is, as she says, purely philosophical. With photography and ceramics, Rath has produced a body of work that looks at the beauty, diversity, and existential dilemma of the apple: how do apples propagate, and how do varieties survive?
British fashion photographer David Sims focuses his lens on the beauty in imperfections. Some of his most iconic work—a portfolio that is said to have set the tone of late 1990s fashion photography—captures the incongruous chink in a flawless image. Models with knotted hair, a wrinkled shirt, asymmetrical blush or a cowlick—through Sims's perfect lens, with Sims's perfect light, it all looks, yes, perfect. You wouldn't imagine it any other way.
Photographer Klaus Enrique has revived a Renaissance classic: the surreal botanical portraits of 16th-century Milanese painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo—now, rendered through the lens, not the brush. Titled 'Arcimboldo,' Enrique's homage to the painter faithfully recreates his unusual series of portraits portraying people (Emperor Rudolf II) and concepts (the Four Seasons).
Photographer Alexander James, who has worked with floral subjects for over 15 years, will go to any lengths necessary to get the shot, including submerging bouquets and fruit in a dark tank, rigging an underwater light, and even breeding butterflies in his studio.
Photographer Diana Scherer's 'Nurture Studies' is beautiful evidence of the strength of a plant's root system. She looks beyond the flower to what happens below ground. Inspired by 17th century botanical encyclopedias whose plant profiles included detailed illustrations of the plant's various parts, Scherer's work similarly studies a plant as an entire entity, roots and all. Her plant portraits reveal the will of these roots—to expand their network and seek new sources of nutrients.