From time to time I like to feature botanical photographers who aim to follow in the tradition of botanical illustration by being both accurate and informative as well as having a visual aesthetic.
Last week I added Anna Atkins (1799-1871) to the list of Past Masters. She was an English botanist who developed photography as a medium for recording images of plants. Her use of cyanotope impressions is noteworthy.
Today I want to highlight J.W. Fike (Jimmy Fike) who I've been aware of for some time.
Fike has embarked on a major and very ambitious project to record the wild edible botanicals found on the North American continent. In doing so he is having annual exhibitions around the USA of place-specific plants related to the area in which the exhibition is held.
Recording wild edible botanicals
Fike's approach to recording wild plants is to highlight the parts which are edible in colour while rendering the rest of the plants less emphatically. It very neatly highlights the edible parts without any need for labelling. His resulting images are also reminiscent of the cynatope impressions used by the early photographers such as Anna Atkins.
Within my system the plant is excavated, arranged in the studio, photographed, then illustrated digitally in such a way as to render the edible parts in color while the remaining parts, less emphatically, read as contact prints.
Current Exhibition in California
The current exhibition is of J.W. Fike’s Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of California. It opened last week at the Art Gallery at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, CA. The exhibition focuses on wild edible plants relevant to California.
Date: 19th May 2016 - 26th August 2016 (Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m - admission free.)
Location: Founders Hall Art Gallery 2nd Floor, Soka University, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 Map and directions
Last week his exhibition earned him coverage by the Los Angeles Times with this article Haunting flowers: The eerily beautiful California botanical art of J.W. Fike
Currently, I’ve photographed over ninety plants in seven different states and plan to continue the survey until I’ve created a collection that spans the continental United States.
You can see what his exhibitions look like in reality in this post about the past exhibition at the The University of Mary Washington Galleries in 2015.
About J W Fike
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-16
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