Photography Science

#nature #plants #Tom Leighton

Fluorescent Photographs by Tom Leighton Highlight the Remarkable Complexities of Plants After Dark

April 29, 2023

Kate Mothes

All images © Tom Leighton, shared with permission

Plants are incredible stores of energy,” says photographer Tom Leighton, whose fluorescent-tinged images of foliage highlight the incredible night life of plants in his ongoing Variegation series. He explores the detailed colors and textures of leaves and stems, accentuating an important counterpart to the complex daytime process of photosynthesis, which creates chemical energy and oxygen from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. “After the sun fades, the process of photosynthesis stops and respiration begins,” he says. “Plants begin to burn their stored sugars and breathe back in some of the precious oxygen they have created.”

Leighton primarily focuses on species found around his native Cornwall—often in his own garden—and captures contrasting venation patterns, serrated edges, and multiple colors. He digitally removes the green tones we associate with vegetation to reveal glowing violet, pink, and blue hues. “It is very experimental… There are limitless options and techniques that I combine to get to each finished image,” he says, sharing that a minor color choice or a small crop can transform the outcome.

Explore more of Leighton’s work on Behance, his website, and Instagram.


Colorful leaves

A tropical plant

Serrated edges of leaves.

A colorful leaf.

Thin purple foliage.


#nature #plants #Tom Leighton


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