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Leendert Blok:  Silent Beauties. Color Photographs from the 1920s. Photographs by Leendert Blok. Text by Gilles Clément.
 
Leendert Blok:  Silent Beauties. Color Photographs from the 1920s. booktease preview.

Leendert Blok: Silent Beauties.

Color Photographs from the 1920s.

Photographs by Leendert Blok. Text by Gilles Clément.
Hatje Cantz, 2015. In English. 176 pp., 154 illustrations, 19½x26".

Publisher's Description

Leendert Blok experimented with color photography and the use of the panoramic format. In the 1920s, the Dutch photographer worked in close collaboration with flower producers, providing color prints and autochromes for the display catalogues of the various species they cultivated. Blok portrayed flowers as objects of desire, using the Autochrome Lumière technique.


For Blok, photography related above all to the gaze. Muted tones and soft bronze hues reveal 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 genre of the Dutch Golden Age. Tulips, dahlias, daffodils, irises, hyacinths and peonies reveal themselves in all their glorious diversity. Blok's photographs are reminiscent of botanists' slides of yore, immersing us in the immanence of plant life, in which each flower becomes a sculpture.


Leendert Blok (1895-1986) was born in Holland and studied journalism in South Africa before returning to Lisse, near Amsterdam, where he established his Photo Technischbureau company, for which he procured work from nearby horticulturalists, producing their display catalogues while experimenting with panoramic formats and color photography. From 1925, when the use of color photography was relatively rare, he began using the autochrome technique, which involved making composite images from three-color separations on glass plates with potato starches. The resulting images could not be duplicated.


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