There’s not a lot of information out there about Spanish artist Ana Domínguez. From what I gather, she both creates her own illustrations and acts as an art director on various projects for different brands and organizations. One of those groups happens to be The Plant Journal, also based out of Spain, about whom I am very enthusiastic. With the help of the journal’s Isa Merino, Domínguez created the series Birds and Insects, photographed by Coke Bartrina. Ostensibly these collages of plant parts were to be used in an upcoming issue, although I have yet to see them published. All the more reason for me to share them with you!
Eye Heart Spleen is a series of photographs shot by artist Camila Carlow. Born in Guatemala and now residing in Bristol, England, Carlow has rendered some of the most recognizable and crucial parts of the human anatomy using local plants and weeds. Her hope is to draw attention to the way in which our bodies are their own complex, living ecosystems, much like the environment outside us.
I’ve written previously about how clever I think it is drawing parallels between human and botanical sexuality. We don’t think of plants as sexual organisms, but in fact the parts about them we often appreciate most – their flowers and fruit – could be considered plant genitalia. Which is why I love that Camila has used flower blossoms, for example, to represent nipples, and apples to represent gonads. Because what most people don’t realize when they take a bit of a juicy piece of fruit is that what they’re sinking their teeth into is a nice, engorged plant ovary. Yummy, right?
I have sort of a huge brand crush – is that a thing? – on Hart, a trio of Portland-based artists offering a full suite of services: photography, set styling, floral design, hair and makeup. Their work is exactly what I would be doing if I were skilled at, well, anything other than writing about plants. There are so many of their pieces I want to share with you that I didn’t know where to start. So I just picked one.
Below are images from their shoot The Transition, which aims to capture the experience of self discovery. Presented in order, each picture is named for a stage in the process: resistance, exposed, raw, deliverance, trust, truth. Beautiful, don’t you think? (As a side note, those words also appear in alphabetical order.)
The first photo is my favorite – it reminds me of Matthew Barney in the Cremaster Cycle. Do you guys have a favorite, too?
Previously, I featured New York fashion photographer Torkil Gudnason’s fine art series Electric Blossom. But in case you didn’t get your fill of psychadelic flora, his Hot House Color series offers more of the same.
‘Everything manmade references nature,’ Torkil Gudnason says. The fashion photographer uses exaggerated lighting and colored filters to amplify the verdant fragility of the flowers and plants he photographs. ‘They change and evolve. Not one moment is the same. Sometimes they start to die and sometimes they begin to live’. The resulting images celebrate nature’s endless permutations, evoking millennia of evolution in the curvature of a single stem.
These photos also remind me of the way bees see flowers: because bees are able to see ultraviolet light, their perception of flowers is often very different than ours, and sometimes resembles the almost supernatural hues and patterns of Gudnason’s photographs.
Joe Sinness is an American artist interested in queer culture and the way it objectifies and simultaneously preserves stars and icons – erotica writers, pornstars, performers, etc. Because of this fascination with objects and preservation, he finds that the tradition of still lifes suits him. Plants, of course, have long been a still-life staple, and are also an appropriate choice for exploring queer culture.
Traditionally feminine, men who dabble in wearing floral prints or floral arranging, for example, are often perceived as or actually are homosexual. In addition, plants themselves run the gamut of the sexual spectrum, from having males and females with separate parts, to hermaphroditic plants with both parts, to plants who reproduce without exchange of genetic material at all. They can be flamboyant or subdued, and are ever-changing. I particularly like the use of the hostas in the first image, as these plants are dormant all winter and emerge triumphant in the spring. Combined with the snake shedding its skin, the piece paints a beautiful picture of transformation, rebirth and, in the realm of homosexual lifestyles, “coming out.”