The splendor and infinite variety of flowers
have long served as an inspiration to the world's greatest
photographers. Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray,
Edward Steichen and others have all made important contributions
to this genre.
Now in Flower (Artisan, 2008, $35), a retrospective
of photographer Christopher Beane's work, the art of flower
photography reaches an entirely new height. Page after
page of dazzling photos reveal Beane's original perspectives
on the color and form of this subject. As
noted by Anthony F. Janson in the book's introduction,
"Beane gives fresh meaning to the medium as a whole.
Just when one thinks there is nothing new under the sun,
his work makes even the most jaded viewer sit up and take
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Beane became
obsessed with the botanical after beginning work as a flower
wholesaler in Manhattan's flower district. He would work from
4 a.m to noon in the market and then rush back to his studio
to experiment with his new favorite subject. The brilliant
results of the last twelve years of these explorations are
displayed in 150 color and black-and-white plates in this truly
magnificent book. Photographed against a range of backdrops,
peonies, tulips, irises and rununculi come to life in new and
Beane's artistic achievements are just one aspect of his personal
triumph. In July 2005, Beane was diagnosed with stage four
lymphoma. After two years of grueling treatments
and surgery he was finally able to return to his camera and
to produce intriguing and meaningful work.
His courage in the face of this devastating illness and his
determination to continue to grow as an artist despite new
physical handicaps is truly inspirational.
Flower is the perfect gift book. Its passionate celebration of both the beauty of the
natural world and the indomitability of the human spirit will
resonate with all readers.