In 1843, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) self-published a series of cyanotypes: facsimiles of British algae. These were thought to be part of the world’s first photo-book, produced in a run of just 20 copies. The work was completely revolutionary, laying bare the unfurling tendrils of these photosynthetic organisms. Atkins placed the wet blooms on light-sensitised paper, and with an innovative chemical process, created delicate blueprints for the first time in history. Nearly 200 years later, Anne Mason-Hoerter treads similar ground, fixating on – and celebrating – the microcosmic world of botany. Each of these images, which appear like glass platelets, expose the vivid colour and unique details of plant specimens, from valerian roots and blue thistles to wild garlic. Cast against velvety black, and devoid of extraneous details, common food items and back-garden regulars are elevated: the inner seeds of a balloon plant stand out like crown jewels; ginger skin shines like gold.
Images by Anne Mason-Hoerter. Courtesy of the artist.
1. Thistle 2. Purple Sage 3. Bishop Balls 4. Blutampfer 5. Fresh Garlic 6. Heuschera 7. Fresh Ginger