MEDIUM: FINE ART BOTANICAL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Early humans saw plants as gifts of the gods, closely associated with symbolism and ritual. The symbolism carried on well into the Renaissance of Europe, but then plant illustrations became commonly used for colonial exploration and scientific classification. Later, scientific drawings became largely abandoned with the invention of contemporary photography, leaving botanical illustration as a pretty and decorative art form, but somewhat without purpose or direction. Meanwhile, some Eastern traditions of botanical art stayed closer to the roots of the art form as artists tried to capture ‘the energy’ of the plants in their artworks, rather than illustrating every detail for scientific endeavours. 

Mamakan's chosen expression is aligned with these Eastern traditions, as she works intuitively to reveal the hidden ‘energy’ of a plant, letting it express itself in its own unique way. By using photography as her medium, she proposes a pure, neutral and unfiltered experience of the plant’s unique vibration, rather than imposing her ‘human filter’ through drawing or painting.

 

 
PROCESS: ROOTED IN ANCIENT TRADITIONS

 

Mamakan's process is most unusual for botanical art, as it is honouring ancient native elements of all lifeforms: the elements of the sky, the sea and the forest. These three elements form a powerful symbol penetrating most human traditions and philosophy, and she uses the elements to create a sense of dynamism and harmony. The process itself begins with foraging for small plant specimens from the land, the forest. Then, she brings the specimen to a studio from where she captures the plant floating in water - the sea - under the natural light of the sky. During each studio session, she uses handheld movement that allows the plant to change positions in the water, sometimes reacting to the water flow or the air bubbles, sometimes doing entirely its own thing. The colours change according to the weather, reflecting each cloud and sun beam. The final result is rather unpredictable as the plant, water, sky and movement interact with each other. Each image is momentarily, unique and thus, can never be replicated exactly. 

 

See aboutexperiencing, valuation and certification, and collecting for more info.