Karl Blossfeldt's Botanical Photography
Although what technically set Berlin-artist Karl Blossfeldt's groundbreaking plant photographs apart was their unprecedented magnification, the way that he highlighted the influence of plant forms on art, design, and architecture is what has truly made his work pivotal and timeless.
Never formally trained, Blossfeldt used a homemade camera that allowed for his subjects to be magnified up to thirty times their actual size, revealing plants to the world with never before seen detail and intricacy.
His impact was solidified by his ties to the academic art world, allowing him to establish formal archives and to reach a wide audience of students and fellow faculty. By the time he published Urformen der Kunst (Artforms in Nature) in 1928, Blossfeldt was 63. The collection was an instant success, making him an international bestseller and further cementing the influence of his work. His second volume, Wundergarten de Natur (The Magic Garden of Nature), quickly followed in 1932.
Hailed by Surrealists, tied to New Objectivism and Constructionism, and included in "The Book of 101 Books" as one of the seminal photographic books of the twentieth century , Blossfeldt's work continues to be an inspiration, a fact displayed recently in the fashion world when his prints were used in Jonathan Anderson's designs for LOEWE's SS16 collection and in the campaign for his "001" men's and women's perfumes.