Material Forms in Nature: Object:Photo

Jan 5, 2015 7:08PM
"What today has come to be regarded as among the finest bodies of work in early-twentieth-century photography began as a teaching experiment," Hanako Murata writes in Object:Photo, MoMA's astonishing new collection of Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection. "Karl Blossfeldt, a new lecturer at the institute of the royal arts and crafts museum Berlin, was looking for a way to showcase examples of the forms and patterns he discovered in the natural world that he believed should inspire his students' own work. An excellent sculptor, he first created a large, finely modeled dragonfly's wing, but this was dismissed as trivial by the school's director. Blossfeldt came up with an idea of making greatly enlarged photographs of the insect instead. 'This enlargement then proved to be most useful to me in my studies, and thus I hit upon the use of enlarged photographs of small plant forms to assist as yet unskilled students in their work,' Blossfeldt recalled in 1929. 'It is due to this incident and this photograph that I am now publishing my plant photographs thirty years later.'" Blossfeldt's "Acanthus mollis" (1898–1928) is reproduced from Object:Photo.
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019