Karl Blossfeldt: New Objectivity

blossfeldt_karl_2008_31_6
Karl Blossfeldt, VI, 1929 (2008.31.6)

In the 1920s artists developed the New Objectivity, a modernist German art movement that challenged Expressionism. Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932), a botanical photographer, sculptor, and teacher was one of the main photographers of this movement. He dedicated himself to the study of forms in nature with a great passion and strong connection to his subject, making typological photographs of a variety of plants. This image was published in his book titled Unformen der Kunst. Blossfeldt constructed his own large-format camera to reveal the details and patterns of the plants within their natural structure by magnifying them up to twenty-seven times their actual size. He transformed the body of the plant into a new object by breaking the association between object and space. Blossfeldt believed that there was a strong relationship between nature and architecture. Using deep shadows and highlights in this picture, he created an explicit outline to emphasize the architectural structures of plants. At the same time, midtone details created striking surfaces. This combination of visual elements works together to change our perception of this specific plant. Through his vision, this picture was made not only as a photographic documentation of plants but also as a way to establish a personal and emotional approach to his subject.

Gülsüm Eryilmaz, ICP-Bard 2017

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About claartjevandijk

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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