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Required Reading: Botanical by Samuel Zeller

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Required Reading: Botanical by Samuel Zeller

April 27, 2018

One spring evening in 2015, graphic designer Samuel Zeller got off a train one stop early after a bad day at work in Geneva and visited a botanical garden with a camera. He was not a keen horticulturalist but in the time he spent amongst the glasshouses he reawakened a childhood passion for nature, which would, in turn, set him on a new career path. When he later looked at the photographs he’d taken that evening, he realized that it was part of a much bigger project.

Over the next two years, Zeller, who now works full time as a photographer, visited botanical gardens in capital cities from Paris and Prague to Porto and many more sites across Scotland, Belgium, and France and his photographs have now been compiled into a charming small book, Botanical (£16.95; Amazon UK).

Photography by Samuel Zeller, courtesy of Hoxton Mini Press.

 Zeller’s parents are artists and there is a painterly quality to his mesmerizing images of plants pressed up against glass that’s often frosted or hazy with condensation.
Above: Zeller’s parents are artists and there is a painterly quality to his mesmerizing images of plants pressed up against glass that’s often frosted or hazy with condensation.

Flashes of color appear from the depths of the glasshouses in an impressionistic haze—the tomato-red tubular flowers of coral plant (Russelia equisetiformis Plantaginaceae) or the lush green of a twisting frond of a tree fern (Cyathea sp. Cyatheaceae).

 Sometimes framed by the metal structure of the glasshouse and pressed up against the glass as if they are trying to escape, the plants look like prisoners trapped yet protected in their moisture- and temperature-controlled worlds.
Above: Sometimes framed by the metal structure of the glasshouse and pressed up against the glass as if they are trying to escape, the plants look like prisoners trapped yet protected in their moisture- and temperature-controlled worlds.
 The glasshouses themselves are just as much the stars of Zeller’s images, framing foliage or sometimes cutting through it—the old metal and glass structures are the perfect foil for the fleshy exotic plants and their vibrant flowers.
Above: The glasshouses themselves are just as much the stars of Zeller’s images, framing foliage or sometimes cutting through it—the old metal and glass structures are the perfect foil for the fleshy exotic plants and their vibrant flowers.
 But he also dwells on their architectural grandeur—the vast curving structures in glass and metal, the elegant galvanized doors, even old vents seem to take on a poetic beauty.
Above: But he also dwells on their architectural grandeur—the vast curving structures in glass and metal, the elegant galvanized doors, even old vents seem to take on a poetic beauty.
 Zeller’s &#8\2\20;Botanical&#8\2\2\1; series will be on display at The Print Space in London through May \2 and then at the Librairie de L’Ile in Geneva from May \1\1 to \16. Prints are also for sale at Samuel Zeller.
Above: Zeller’s “Botanical” series will be on display at The Print Space in London through May 2 and then at the Librairie de L’Ile in Geneva from May 11 to 16. Prints are also for sale at Samuel Zeller.

 Botanical will be published in the US in September; hardcover copies are available for preorder for \$\17.99 from Amazon.
Above: Botanical will be published in the US in September; hardcover copies are available for preorder for $17.99 from Amazon.
See more of our favorite botanical gardens and glasshouses in 10 Ideas to Steal from Botanical Gardens Around the World. For more inspiration, see our Garden Ideas to Steal archives and our curated design guides for Hardscape 101 projects, including Fences & Gates, Retaining Walls, Edible Gardens, and Decks & Patios. And don’t miss:

Product summary  

Samuel Zeller

Botanical

$17.99 USD from Amazon

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