Click on icon in upper right corner of slideshow to enlarge images.
have a long history together, and not just in botanical illustrations. Flowers
serve as a stand-in for sex (think Georgia O'Keeffe
or Robert Mapplethorpe
), help deliver the language of love
, and symbolize death
. In paintings and poetry
(and on primetime
) flowers carry a lot of weight.
Flowers and art
In his new book, Flower
, photographer Andrew Zuckerman aims to strip away that baggage, and show us flowers as they're rarely seen -- free of symbolism, metaphor and meaning.
"I've been interested in honing in on the flowers themselves, without context. In taking a subject and taking everything away, and placing them in a neutral space, there's a democratization that happens. The beauty of nature is then able to be realized," Zuckerman says.
On each two-page spread of this nearly six-pound book is a photograph of a single specimen, set against a bright white background. There's no accompanying text, no Latin names, not even page numbers. (Though a pictoral index to the plants' names is included in an appendix.) "The flowers are evenly lit," Zuckerman says, "so you don't find form and shape in shadow."
The book includes more than 100 specimens, photographed Zuckerman says, "moments after I clipped them." Some of the plants, including the New York Botanical Garden
's rare Darwin's star orchid
were photographed living, on-site. Click on the slide show above to see that orchid and more photos from the book.