Patterns from Nature

Patterns from Nature
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Photographs by Horst.

New York. J. J. Augustin Publisher. 1946. Hardback, dust jacket. 107 pages. Approx. 100 full-page black-and-white photographic plates. 300 x 240mm (11 x 9"). 0.9kg. English. Near fine; light shelf wear to dust jacket.

In 1946, two years after his first book Photographs of a Decade, Horst published Patterns from Nature. It was a notable departure from his glamourous fashion shots and society portraits. Collected together are close-up images of plants, shells and minerals taken by Horst en plain air throughout America, including in New York's Botanical Gardens, in Mexico and along the coasts. The project was partly inspired by fellow German Karl Blossfeldt's Urformen der Kunst (1929) and partly due to a creative desire to release himself from his tightly controlled studio work for Vogue magazine. Horst was interested in the organic patterns of the natural elements and the architectural structures that were evident in the close-up images. The book includes nine photo-mosaics or collages which involved arranging the photographs into a repeat pattern. The result is a kaleidoscopic and dynamic pattern that Horst suggested could be applied to textiles and other design surfaces. Horst is so well-known for his fashion and portrait work that these images have been largely forgotten and unpublished, making this a valuable addition to a Horst library.