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Acanthus mollis by Karl Blossfeldt
Acanthus mollis by Karl Blossfeldt

Acanthus mollis, 1928

Karl Blossfeldt

This acanthus plant, with its tall, straight stem and spiky, black-tipped leaves looks like a botanical drawing, but in fact it’s a photograph of the plant magnified to a surreal scale. The plant’s symmetry seems almost too perfect to be real. Self-taught German photographer Blossfeldt was inspired by the way plants grow, and tried to reveal a plant’s “artistic and architectural structure” through his work. Blossfeldt made many of his photographs with a homemade camera that could magnify the subject up to thirty times scale, making unprecedented images that emphasized a plant's underlying design.

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