Saturday, January 30, 2010

Karl Blossfeldt's use of positive and negative space

Karl Blossfeldt, Silphium laciniatum, Compass-plant, leaf dried on stem (magnified 5 times)

Karl Blossfeldt was in his sixties when his botanical photographs were first published, in Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature), in 1928. His work was both popular and influential, being republished internationally in a number of editions, and influencing both architects and decorative artists of his time. You can see many of his images on one page here.

Karl Blossfeldt, Adiantum pedatum, American maidenhair fern (magnified 8 times)

He worked as a photographer in late-nineteenth century Berlin, where he taught design at the School of Decorative Arts. His photographs are all close-ups of plant forms and features – but the negative spaces make them work.

Karl Blossfeldt, Cucurbita, Tendrils of the pumpkin (magnified 4 times)

Thank you to Brigitta Wiederhold for introducing me to Blossfeldt's work!

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