In Daniel Shipp's series Botanical Inquiry, the Sydney-based photographer explores how plants and flowers found at the edges of urban infrastructure fit into our modern world. Shipp collects seemingly unremarkable plants and photographs the subjects in built dioramas, an environment that allows him to manipulate the relationship between foreground and background with a controlled precision. Through this process he is able to create dramatic photographs in-camera, shooting digitally but using old visual effects techniques developed for early cinema.
By highlighting botanical specimens we have culturally labeled “weeds,” Shipp attempts to shift the viewer’s perspective on flora that they might walk past each day. He recasts these marginal plants as the subject of each of his photographic stories, showcasing their knack for survival even in the face of pollution and harmful human intervention.
“There are some beautiful ‘weeds’ that we might walk past all the time,” Shipp explains to Colossal. “I knew that if I could present these often unnoticed plants in the right context that there was potential for storytelling. Next time you go for a walk make an effort to look for plants in places you wouldn’t normally—shopping center carparks, service stations etc.”
Shipp further explained that one of the most beautiful colors he has photographed for the series was found on the underside of the foliage of a plant common to industrial parks across Sydney. The hidden purple was one of the most incredible metallic shades he had ever seen, and it had been sneakily surrounding him for the majority of his life.
Shipp was recently announced as the winner of Magnum and LensCulture's 2017 Fine Art Photo Award. You can see more of his photographs on his website and Instagram, and take a behind-the-scenes look at his Botanical Inquiry series in the short video below. (via This Isn’t Happiness)