Karl Blossfeldt: Variations
by Ulrike Meyer Stump (Author), Karl Blossfeldt (Photographer)
How Karl Blossfeldt’s plant photographs were disseminated in the popular media of the time, from pattern books to magazine spreads.
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.