|Fraxinus Ornus Blumenesche Mannaesche Aufbrechende by Blossfeldt|
I mentioned earlier that Blossfeldt’s pictures are similar to documentary photographs taken in the early 19th century. Before photography was invented, painted and sketched portraiture of human subjects reigned. Only the wealthy could afford to get their picture drawn or painted, and often the subject’s appearance would be manipulated in a way so it is aesthetically pleasing. A wealthy, ugly woman could be portrayed as a beautiful angel floating amongst clouds. Photography in the 19th century and beyond is more truthful and less manipulable. In portraiture photography, subjects are the focus of the paintings. The subjects’ traits are amplified, and without Photoshop, each crease in their face is apparent. The background is plain, without any distractions so that all attention is drawn a single point of focus. Rather than photographing the whole plant, Blossfeldt only shoots a single flower bud so that the spotlight is centered on one point. Shooting just a single part of a plant gives us the opportunity to enjoy it without other distracting images and see each minor detail – every leaf, every petal – as it truthfully is.