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Les extravagantes.

Photographs by Leendert Blok.
Editions Xavier Barral, Paris, France, 2014. 176 pp., 85 colour and B&W photographs, 7½x10½x¾".



Publisher's Description

Picked as Book of the Week by Mariken Wessels

This book gathers flower portraits made in autochrome by Dutch photographer Lendeert Blok who, since the early 1920s, has been experimenting with colour photography and the use of the panoramic format. Blok comes as close as possible to texture and develops a singular approach in which each flower becomes sculpture.

He portrays tulips, narcissus, dahlias, hyacinths, irises, and gladioluses. Beyond a documentary approach, Blok captures flowers like objects of desire through a minimal staging, a subtle play of light revealing the autochrome colourful shades. Muted tones and soft bronze hues evoke a timeless world of flora, in which corolla, petals and buds are sublimated by chiaroscuro. The flowers stand out against a plain dark background, alluding to the famous vanitas of the Dutch Golden Age.

An accompanying text by Gilles Clément places this work in the historical, artistic and botanical context of the time.

 


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