Published by Lars Müller Publishers. Text by Ulrike Meyer Stump.
In the 1890s, the Berlin artist, sculptor and teacher Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) started to photograph plants, seeds and other illustrative material from nature for the purpose of teaching his students about the patterns and designs found in natural forms. His close-ups of the smallest plant parts, magnified up to 30 times their natural size, startle us as they dramatically highlight the geometrical and sculptural properties of plants. Published in 1928, his first collection of photographs, Urformen der Kunst (later translated into English as Art Forms in Nature) became an international bestseller and remains one of the most significant photobooks of the 20th century.
Karl Blossfeldt: Variations is the first monograph to examine the reception of Blossfeldt’s work. Drawing on unpublished materials, it analyzes the photographs’ replication in teaching materials, pattern books, art books and in the pages of the illustrated press. The six sections of the book trace the paths that Blossfeldt’s legendary plant motifs took in their incarnations as specimens, illustrations, patterns, analogues, models and abstractions from 1890 to 1945. Thematic contemporary appraisals illustrating the rediscovery of Blossfeldt's motifs in design and architecture over the past 20 years complement this new perspective on the beloved German photographer.
Published by D.A.P.. Edited by Ann Wilde, Jürgen Wilde. Foreword and text by Hansjörg Küster.
Karl Blossfeldt was a pioneer of botanical photography, though his interest in the plant world was initially educational. Fascinated by the structure of plants, whose seemingly artistic forms resulted from biological necessity, he realized that photography could be a useful teaching tool, allowing his students to see and compare natural forms. Working with a homemade camera, Blossfeldt gathered and photographed his own plant samples, magnifying them by up to 45 times. From around 1898 onward, he shot some 6,000 images, which he used primarily as visual aids in his classes.
Eventually published as Art Forms in Nature (1928) and Art Forms in Nature, Second Series (1932), Blossfeldt’s photographs had a lasting impact on the art of his day and were enthusiastically embraced by both the Surrealist and New Objectivity movements. His books brought him overnight fame and are still considered landmarks in the history of art and photography. Karl Blossfeldt: Masterworks presents a remarkable collection of Blossfeldt’s strikingly austere yet poetic portraits of plants, which capture their timeless beauty in intimate detail.
Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) was a photographer, sculptor, teacher and artist who worked in Berlin. Blossfeldt had no formal photographic training, but was singled out by Walter Benjamin in his “Little History of Photography” for the way his plant photography could reveal something present in the natural world not normally visible to the naked eye, helping to usher in a new, distinctively photographic way of seeing.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Photographs by Karl Blossfeldt.
The iconic German photographer Karl Blossfeldt's stunning plant photography is presented here for the first time in an English language edition with beautifully printed duotones that do justice to the work of this turn of the century master. A truly stunning and important book.