Blossfeldt studiesSilver leaf © Julian KöpkeHeucheria leaf © Julian KöpkeFern © Julian KöpkeThuja conifer © Julian KöpkeThuja (Abendländischer Lebensbaum) © Julian KöpkeClematis I © Julian KöpkeTendrils © Julian KöpkePoppy capsule © Julian KöpkeBlooming thistle at the former railroad tracks © Julian KöpkePoppy © Julian KöpkeBlossfeldt Acorn © Julian KöpkeVetch © Julian Köpke
If you ever have the opportunity to see the work of the photographic pioneer Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), then perhaps you will also be as moved and fascinated as I am time and again. In 2014, Taschen-Verlag Cologne published a book about him entitled „Karl Blossfeldt The Complete Published Work“ (ISBN 978-3-8365-5072-7), which I have kept near my bedside table for years.
Karl Blossfeldt was interested in the forms that occur in nature and which he understood as „archetypes“. His main work was published in 1928 under the title „Urformen der Natur“ (translated version as „Art Forms in Nature“, 1928) and became an international bestseller.
On his way to college, he collected plants that he used as a source of inspiration for his work as a professor of decorative arts. His photographic works are monochromatic and usually made by placing the object on photosensitive paper. Technically, therefore, they are actually to be addressed as photograms and not as photographs, because the image was not based on any imaging optics. X-ray images are also photograms, but with a central beam geometry. Therefore, in a very free interpretation, Karl Blossfeldt’s works could be placed in the middle between photography and X-ray images.
The images in this gallery are created with photographic optics and a digital sensor. Photographs of plants or better: parts of plants, which highlight selected structures, are excellently suited for a monochrome presentation. Harold Davis describes one way of creating the look-and-feel of a Blossfeldt image with the help of a photograph. Harold calls the result „The Blossfeldt effect“.
Do you like Karl Blossfeldt ?
Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer who lived from 1865 to 1932. He didn’t think himself a photographer. With his studies of plant forms he made an enormous contribution to plant photography. Here is a nice wikipedia article about him.
He started to do photograms. Plants or parts of plants were placed directly on film or paper suitable for exposure. Exposure then takes place without any optics. Later he built himself a wooden camera, which reminds me of Andreas Feininger.
Black and white backlit macro images with a background can be similar to Blossfeldt’s images.