Anna Atkins (1799-1871)
Atkins was an English botanist who developed cameraless photography as a medium for recording images of plants. She knew both the pioneer photographer William Henry Fox Talbot, and Sir John Herschel who invented the cyanotype printing method. The very striking cyan blue colour is caused by a mix of ammonium ion citrate and potassium ferricyanide - in a process developed by the astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel. The images produced are now commonly known as "blueprints".
You can see images of her work online in Wikipedia.
Her book British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions was one of the first uses of light-sensitive materials to illustrate a book. It focused on ferns and seaweeds. It was published in three volumes and only 17 known copies of the set are known to exist, in various states of completeness.
REFERENCES for images:
Charles Jones (1866-1959)
Jones was a trained gardener who worked at several private estates between the years 1894 and 1910. He also photographed what he produced. He created a series of gelatin silver prints of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Unusually he photographed them in isolation against a neutral backdrop so that the images highlight the distinctive features of the subject matter. Born a year later than Blossfeldt, he worked in a similar way but with more of a focus on the horticultural detail rather than an abstract aesthetic.
Jones remained completely unknown as a photographer in his lifetime. It seems that his interest was not shared with anyone outside his immediate family. He died a near recluse in Lincolnshire in 1959.
Some 500 of his photographs were discovered by Sean Sexton, a collector, in Bermondsey Market in 1981 and their value recognised. He was only identified as the photographer when the photographs were displayed on the BBC and his granddaughter identified them - and promptly wrote to the producer.
Sean Sexton created a monograph about the images in 1998 and Jones subsequently enjoyed wider attention as a photographer rather than a puzzle. Since then his work has been exhibited by the Howard Greenberg Gallery (10 November, 2006 – 6 January 2007)
The Plant Kingdoms of Charles Jones
by Sean Sexton and Robert Flynn Johnson
This second revised edition of a book first published in 1998 contains more than 100 photographic 'portraits' of vegetables, fruits and flowers by Charles Jones.
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Original publication 1998
Revised edition (25 Aug. 2016)
BUY THIS BOOK
IN THE UK: The Plant Kingdoms of Charles Jones
Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932)
Photographed plants in close-up. He developed cameras which allowed him to photograph both plants and the texture of their surfaces in unprecedented magnified detail (x 30)
He first published black and white photogravure images in Urformen der Kunst (1929) after an exhibition of his work at Berlin's Gallery Nierendorf. In total he produced some 6,000 photographs.
His images are unique in the portrayal of plants although a number of people have sought to emulate him. He focuses in particular on the form and structure of plants.
REFERENCES: These are sites where you can see his work
The Hayward Touring Exhibition of Karl Blossfeldt - Art Forms in Nature can be seen in 2016 at the following venues
'the plant must be valued as a totally artistic and architectural structure'
Karl Blossfeldt. The Complete Published Work
This is a small fat book of the most incredible photographs of plants. Once seen never forgotten.
This was originally published as Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature) in 1928 and has since been reproduced a number of times as a monograph.
Taschen's impeccable production standards means the reproductions are excellent - and I own a copy!
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: TASCHEN Gmbh; Mul edition
Publication date: 25 Feb. 2014
Rated an average of 5 out of 5 stars by 4 reviewers (UK) and 5 reviewers (USA)
Karl Blossfeldt. The Complete Published Work from Amazon UK
Blossfeldt: The Complete Published Work from Amazon.com
Imogen Cunningham (1883 – 1976)
After 1920 she became increasingly interested in botanical photography and rendering plants in macro shots and sharp focus.
Between 1923 and 1925 she carried out an in-depth study of the Magnolia flower. One of her most notable works is Magnolia Blossom (1925)
Her photographs continue to be available as Estate Stamped
Platinum / Palladium Print
There is an exhibition of her work - Imogen Cunningham in Focus - which includes her botanicals, at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston
Dates: September 3, 2016 – June 18, 2017
Venue: Herb Ritts Gallery (Gallery 169), MFA, Boston
Previous exhibitions of her Botanicals include:
Imogen Cunningham: Flora
This is a collection of black and white photographs of plants and flora spanning some 55 years of her career as a photographer. Her fascination with plants endured throughout her career.
It includes 40 duotone and eight colour plates of works exhibited in San Francisco in
Richard Lorenz contributes a bio and critical essay about her place within the pantheon of the premiere photographers of the natural world in the 20th century
Paperback: 160 pages
Publication date: May 1, 2001
Caution! The consensus is that the images are really great but the production values for the paperback print run could have been better. Look for second hand hardback books which won't hurt your pocket.
Buy in USA: Imogen Cunningham: Flora
Dr. Dain L. Tasker (1872 - 1964) - Dr Tasker's records of flowers made using the X-Ray process - radiographs - stemmed from his knowledge of x-Rays and his developing interest in photography. He recorded record numerous varieties of flowers with the x-ray process. The images he generated as a result are some of the most striking and unique in the history of making records of flowers. They render subtle tones and describe the internal structure of the plant and flower extremely well.
BUY in USA Dr. Dain L.Tasker (Howard Greenberg Gallery)
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