Spring has finally swung into full bloom, which means we’re relishing in all the greenery, flowers, plants and blossom that the season brings. Our latest Reads has got us feeling equally as inspired. Botanical by Samuel Zeller is a photographic story of nature seen through the windows of greenhouses and botanical gardens. Whether it’s leafy ferns squished against glass panes dripping with condensation or bright flowers hiding behind rippled windows, photographer Samuel Zeller has made it his mission to capture nature through this unique lens.
It was after a bad day in the office working as a graphic designer in 2015 that Samuel came up with the concept for his Botanical photo series. He got off the train early in his home city of Geneva and decided to go and visit a botanical garden. Speaking to Creative Boom, Samuel explains: “My anger and anxiety heightened my sensitivity. In that green island inside the city, I discovered what I saw as a series of paintings behind the glass, a refracted reality. I took the first 10 photographs of the project that day.”
Since then, Samuel has travelled to greenhouses everywhere from Glasgow and Paris to Nantes, Dundee and Amsterdam. Capturing his floral subjects, he’s compiled a collection of over 100 images, all of which are now bound together in this beautiful photo book. We love the idea of these wild indoor gardens hiding in secret greenhouses waiting for Samuel to discover them. The photographs have an almost watercolour-like quality to them, inspired by the photographer’s artist parents who brought Samuel up around botanical illustrations and Impressionist paintings. The soft, blurry plants and flowers could easily be mistaken for a detailed painting instead.
After a few years capturing and compiling his images, Samuel has given up the day job and pursuing life as a full-time photographer instead. “It took me 26 years to understand how fragile life can be and how important it is for us to slow down and do what we love” he explains, “I guess that all good things take time to grow.”
This respect and understanding of the natural world is obvious in Samuel’s work - Botanical is not just another plant photo book, but instead a snapshot of a much-photographed subject, captured in a completely different way. As Spring rolls into Summer, we’re (literally) taking a leaf out of the pages of our latest Reads and embracing nature around us - not forgetting to look a little closer at those hidden spots we might have previously ignored.
Botanical by Samuel Zeller is published by Hoxton Mini Press
Words: Lucy Vincent All images: Samuel Zeller