Levon Biss’ photography is an elegant fusion of art and science. In his latest project, âThe Hidden Beauty of Seeds and Fruits,â he uses a specialized process he calls microsculpture to reveal the secrets and mysteries of plants in exquisite detail. Each photograph is in fact an amalgamation of thousands of micro-images, resulting in a sharper and more precise image. Biss’s photograph first gained attention with an exhibit of luminescent insects, which premiered at the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum in Oxford, England, in 2016 and made the world Tour.
David Harris, curator at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland, saw Biss’s splendid insect display and was captivated. He realized that Biss’s unique and nature-conscious vision could be harnessed to document the organization’s herbarium plant species. A herbarium is an archive housing specimens of dried plants, collected over the centuries across the world. The Edinburgh Herbarium Carpology – Plant Collection – has 3 million specimens.
Initially, Harris wasn’t sure Biss would see any photographic potential in the dried plants. They weren’t colorful like the insects. He didn’t need to worry. What plants lacked in dynamism, they more than made up for in their shape and texture. Biss rose to the challenge, dedicating six months of hard work to the project. As Harris writes in his introduction to the book, â[Biss] examined the collection with remarkable intensity. It is this fascination that we hope to share. “
Readers of the book will find dozens of close-ups of seeds or fruits of various species, from American Bigleaf Maple to Chinese Sweet Gum. Each is accompanied by engaging traditions.
Biss writes in the author’s note that the book “was an extremely rewarding project to create, and it opened my eyes to the ingenuity and diversity of nature.”