Blossfeldt studies

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“.