Fashion photography – for flowers?

The surreal beauty of rare flora, captured on camera by Nick Knight

Could they be dramatic images from a surreal dream, one wonders? Almost. In reality, they’re gorgeous, exotic, curiously shaped flowers and plants captured on camera by the influential British fashion photographer Nick Knight – actual specimens he spotted during a three-and-a-half-year project at the Natural History Museum’s herbarium, which he began in 1993. Photographed from above, the newly released images from his Flora portfolio are united by their arresting form and striking colour. The scarlet leaves of Warszewiczia coccinea, the delicate, painterly petals of Gloriosa verschuurii, the seaweed-like strands of Enteromorpha intestinalis (third picture) and the dramatic, cloak-like Dracula roezlii (second picture) are presented with theatrical flare – stark, yet powerful – along with 11 other equally enchanting, mysterious and extraordinary blooms.

The selection of 15 limited-edition prints (from £15,000 each; portfolio price on request) feature in Knight’s celebrated book Flora (sadly now out of print), but are currently the subject of an exhibition at the photographer’s Mayfair gallery, ShowStudio, which opened this week. Using a museum-quality printing process and traditional darkroom techniques, the prints are given a hand-applied protective finish to preserve their colours, from vibrant red to dainty blue (first picture).

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Alongside the exhibition, online art destination Paddle8 is selling the works, which it is displaying together with Knight’s Instagram Inspirations, a daily selection of curated images taken by Knight exclusively for Paddle8 using the Instagram mobile phone app. These highly personal insights reveal the creative process behind the Flora series, as well as documenting Knight’s travels, observations and experiences.

Be sure to appreciate these wonderful images while they are still in full bloom.

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