artsy fartsy discovery: flora on fire

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Still life is possibly one of the most recognizable genres of art. From Cezanne’s juicy bowls of fruit to the Dutch masters’ eerie compositions of cadaverous skulls, still lifes hold a substantial spot in the world of art history. And yet, just as Cezzane’s ripe apple flesh will eventually rot, the style has grown a bit stale after being around for a couple hundred years. Flower vases and fruit are all very lovely to look at, but the traditional still life lacks life, movement, action. Yawn.

Luckily, photographer Nick Knight has redefined this jaded genre in his series Flora. That’s right, these beautiful dripping flowers are photographs. Knight applied a painterly-like effect to the flowers by using an innovative technique that involves exposing the film to heat and water during the developing process. The result is a fascinating blend of artistic styles that truly enlivens the idea of a still life.

Knight chose from over 6 million species of flora and three and a half  patient years of observation in the herbarium of London’s Natural History Museum to create this series of 15 works. In addition to the melting flowers, Knight included a collection of stems and leaves reminiscent of technical botanical illustrations, with a fresh facelift.

And lest we not forget Knight’s fabulous fashion photography career, here’s my absolute favorite shot of Ms. Gaga from Knight’s Born this Way shoot. 
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