Author(s): Hansjorg Kuster
Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) was a great pioneer of botanical photography, yet he was neither a professional photographer nor a botanist. A professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Berlin, he was a sculptor and amateur photographer, and his interest in the plant world was originally educational. Fascinated by the structure of plants, whose apparently artistic forms were created by biological expediency, he realized that photography could be a useful teaching tool, allowing his students to see and compare many natural forms. Blossfeldt worked with a homemade camera and gathered and photographed his own plant samples, magnifying them by up to 45 times. From around 1898 onwards, he shot some 6,000 images, which he used primarily as visual aids in his classes. Eventually published as Art Forms in Nature (1928) and Art Forms in Nature, Second Series (1932), his photographs had a lasting impact on the art of his day and were enthusiastically embraced by both the Surrealists and the New Objectivity movement. His books brought him overnight fame and are still considered landmarks in the history of art and photography. This volume brings together a remarkable collection of Blossfeldt's strikingly austere yet poetic portraits of plants, capturing their timeless beauty in intimate detail.