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Flora Photographica: Masterpieces of Flower Photography from 1835 to the Present

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (September 2002)
Language: English

Flora Photographica is a bouquet, a striking and extravagantly designed album of images that celebrate the beauty and pathos of flowers in all their forms. In these pages flowers speak to us with a greater intensity and more subtle modulation than in nature itself. For each bloom shown here has been observed with an acuity of vision that only the most sensitive of photographers can bring to bear.

What we see is both reality and revelation. The artist's eye decodes the flower's message and sharpens its beauty. Here are Mapplethorpe's tulips, half-metal, half-living creatures; Steichen's delphiniums, preserved in an everlasting summery perfection of blues and pinks; Atget's open-air profusion of poppies; Cunningham's magnolia, richly fertile and lush; Man Ray's surreal yet pure calla lily; Chris Enos's dying poinsettia, its colors curdling in decay.

Roses and irises, zinnias and eglantines, orchids and camellias—all submit to the photographer's gaze, in opulent still-lifes, in spare renderings of a single sprig, in elegant anatomies, and as emblems of personality in portraiture and nude studies. These are masterpieces of photographic art in an astonishing range of media, from photography's beginnings up to the present day. Full details of the techniques and processes used are elucidated in the commentaries and introduction. But, above all, here are flowers as we have never seen them before, an unparalleled display to marvel at, contemplate, and enjoy. 215 photographs, 56 in color.

Some of the photographers included are: Ansel Adams ; Eugene Atget ; Hippolyte Bayard ; Cecil Beaton ; Julia Margaret Cameron ; William Henry Fox Talbot ; Lee Friedlander ; Yasuhiro Ishimoto ; Andre Kertesz ; Robert Mapplethorpe ; Sheila Metzner ; Joel Meyerowitz ; Duane Michals ; Paul Outerbridge ; George Platt Lynes ; Lucas Samaras ; Edwin Smith ; Edward Steichen ; Josef Sudek


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