Promoting awareness of plant conservation through botanical imagery.
The botanical world has been a great inspiration for me as photographer. It provides me with an endless arena in which I explore and experiment with the interplay of colour, shape form and composition. Furthermore, nature was of a great importance to my mother, who, for over fifteen years of her life, dedicated herself to educate and create initiatives to reduce the human impact on the environment. She was the founder of a Non-Profit Organization, named ONG Voluntários Ecológicos. My mother also published articles in defence of the environment which exposed environmental issues of the Brazilian province she lived in.
This passion for photography combined with an interest in plants, have made it possible for me to create images that resonates with the natural world’s fragility and beauty. For this project, I photographed plants that represent South Africa’s botanical treasure, as those species can be only found within the country’s borders and this ‘botanical treasure’ also has some of its species listed in the Red Data Book for plants, meaning that they are in danger of becoming extinct. The photography medium has allowed me to create evocative plant imagery that can make viewers look, and look again and contemplate the plant itself, not just it’s reproduction. Everyone looks at plants around them, but people don’t really perceive and appreciate the beauty that nature lays so generously before them.
Botanical photographers, such as the masters, Karl Blossfeldt and Harold Davis, have significantly inspired me on this botanical photography project. I looked at how they made use of lighting, how they composed and how they made use of colour. Additionally, painters such as Margaret Mee, whose botanical paintings have initiated discourses around the conservation of the Amazon’s flora, have also been source of inspiration for this project.
The usefulness of botanical imagery has for a long time been questioned, as it was seen as just beautiful imagery for a long time. However, the aim for the promoting of awareness of plant conservation through botanical imagery project is mainly to use my photography skills to contribute to promotion of plant conservation though producing beautiful and scientifically accurate plant imagery.