Karl Blossfeldt – Sculptor or Photographer?

"Rosin-weed"

Karl Blossfeldt’s organic and elegant photographs of plants are naturally rustic chic.  Blossfeldt (1865-1932) first published his botanical photographs in 1928 which resulted in overnight fame for the artist.  He was not a trained photographer or a botanist but, as Gert Mattenkott explains in the book, “Karl Blossfeldt – Art Forms in Nature – The Complete Edition”, Blossfeldt “is considered a pioneer of the New Objectivity in the history of photography.  His oeuvre consists of some 6,000 photographs of plants and plant segments which have survived as negatives and in contemporary publications.”  All of the images shown below are from that impressive volume.

Many of Blossfeldt’s photographs show plants in various stages of decay which only enhance their sculptural qualities. Others are maniupulated so that the final effect ranges from the tranquil to the exuberant.  And while some of his photographs were magnified hundreds of times so the viewer could get the full effect and detailing of the growth patterns of his subjects, Blossfeldt’s body of work transcends “floral ornamentation” or the marketing of “pretty decorative photographs”.  His approach was a deliberate, informative and firmly-rooted rustic chic.

Karl Blossfeldt, circa 1895

"Maiden-hair Fern"

"Globeflower"

"Stork bill"

"Hairy Dogwood"

"Bell-flower with petals removed"

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