Karl Blossfeldt: Artforms in Nature


8.25 × 10.5 IN (210 × 266 MM)

Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) was a German artist and professor, teaching at the Royal School of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin from 1898 to 1932, who dedicated his entire career to studying and photographing organic forms. Seeking to demonstrate that the arts, akin to nature, were based on certain archetypal forms, Blossfeldt built a homemade camera and lens that could magnify a subject up to thirty times its size and began to take close up photographs of plants.

Intended as a pedagogical source for German designers, the 50 photographs that form part of this publication were initially only used by Blossfeldt as teaching material. It was only in 1928 that they were first published as Urformen Der Kunst (Archetypal Forms in Nature). Making Blossfeldt famous almost overnight at the age of sixty three, this unique unprecedented collection of magnified plant portraits that fused scientific empiricism with sculptural form, design mechanics, and surreal compositions pioneered a new aesthetic perspective. Thus, even if unintended as modernist masterpieces, they make him a key voice in the development of modern photography, and modern approaches to photography in Europe.