Karl Blossfeldt

June 13, 1865 – December 9, 1932 - 67 y/o

The plant photographer

"Nature educates us into beauty and inwardness and is a source of the most noble pleasure"

"The plant never lapses into mere arid functionalism; it fashions and shapes according to logic and suitability, and with its primeval force compels everything to attain the highest artistic form"

"My botanical documents should contribute to restoring the link with nature. They should reawaken a sense of nature, point to its teeming richness of form, and prompt the viewer to observe for himself the surrounding plant world"

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Karl Blossfeldt studied at the Institute of Royal Arts in Berlin after finishing his apprenticeship in iron casting and sculpture at Art Ironworks and Foundry at Magdesprung. During this time he picked some plants for using them as a class model, this is how plants became the main subject of his photography career.
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Why did he get into photography?

In 1890, with five other students, Blossfeldt was given a scholarship to work in Rome with the photographer Mortiz Meurer. He had to cast models of botanical samples so they could be used by manufacturers. By doing this, he developed interest in plant photography.

Blossfeldt mainly used a homemade camera that could zoom-in a subject thirty times it's original size, this is how he created the most extraordinary images of his time.

In 1930, Karl Blossfeldt became Professor Emeritus, after he was hired as an assistant teacher and assistant director at Kunstgewerbeschule for 31 years.

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Why was he famous?

His most acclaimed collection of photographs,Urformen der Kunst, was published in 1929 after an exhibition of his work at Berlin's Gallery Nierendorf and it became an international bestseller and in turn made Blossfeldt famous almost overnight.
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Chosen Best Historical Monograph for 2001 by photo-eye Books as part of their annual Best Photography Books of the Year Awards.
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Why him?

Karl Blossfeldt's work was really important in his time. His technique was something that nobody had seen before, he was able to zoom-in an object thirty times, making possible to get shots that were just an idea at his time.