Category Archives: Botanical

Out of Eden

We are incredibly fortunate when it comes to accessing plants for photography today. This is a series of images from the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, possibly one of the most remarkable collection of plants anywhere bringing the botanic gardens and palm houses built by Victorian plant hunters well and truly into the 21st century. I’m particularly interested in creating relatively minimalist images of plants that capture their variety of form and the way in which they interact with light. Eden offers scale when it comes to plants that is rarely available even in large botanic gardens and the shear number of plants makes finding photographic subjects much more feasible. The images in this portfolio are all from the rainforest biome with plants from four of the world’s rainforest environments: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America.

Anticipation

There is a long tradition of black and white botanical photography, it seems to convey purity, strength and poetry more effectively than colour. It enables the photographer to enhance the graphical aspect of a plant often isolating it in its environment. As we move through autumn, the seed heads from this year’s flowers seem to parallel the emotions we feel as the year draws to and end, yet holding the promise of colour and scent to come.

This is an image that uses focus stacking to enhance the depth of field while keeping the background nicely out of focus. All told, eight images shot at f/4 were used to create the final photograph.

Tillandsia

Henry Fox Talbot once wrote to his friend, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, asking him for any spare plant bulbs he might have to practice his new technique that he called ‘photographic drawing’ a technique he believed would be of great help to botanists. Herschel came up with a name that stuck – photography.

This is a series of images I’m working on through 2019. Tillandsia, commonly known as air plants, are a fascinating group of plants with an extraordinary range of morphologies. I’m particularly interested in creating relatively minimalist images of these plants that capture their variety of form and the way in which they interact with light. The plants themselves often have adapted cells on their surface to help with the trapping of water, in turn these give their leaves a variety of colours, from silver-grey through to green. Each plant, it seems, reflects light differently providing an almost endless set of possibilities for the photographer.