Come, see real
of this painful world.
Photographs by Kathryn Martin that capture the fragile beauty of British native wildflowers.
The title of this series is borrowed from a haiku poem by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), who wandered throughout Japan in search of new sights and experiences. His simple, unpretentious, honest words resonate strongly with me. Inspired by Zen, Basho sought to celebrate nature, ‘whether his ears heard thunder or bird-song, whether his foot brushed flower or mud, he was intensely alive to the preciousness of all that shared the world with him.’*
The plants were collected on a repeated walk near my home on the South Downs Way, from the brooks in Southease to the brow of Itford Hill, from early spring to summer, in 2019 and 2020. They represent the first part of a project to understand and connect with this Downland landscape. There are 49 photographs in the series.
This piece of work was first conceived in London in 2008. Seeking out the wild in an urban landscape, the aim was to acknowledge and elevate the humble wildflower found in cracks and rubble. Inspired by the beautiful copper plate engravings in William Curtis’s ‘Flora Londinensis’ (1777), I wanted to highlight the delicate, fragile beauty of our native wildflowers as these plants are often overlooked or dismissed as weeds. Wildflower habitats such as these are in sharp decline but are a vital source of food and shelter for countless species of wildlife. At first glance the photographs may appear to be paintings, but set against graph paper they become scientific studies with each flower in isolation exposing its unique individuality and beauty, but also acting as a stark reminder of their fragility and vulnerability.
10 x 8 inch archival pigment prints
all photographs printed on Inbe washi paper (hemp and kozo fibre paper).
editions of 50
oak frame with art glass
complete set of 49 photographs
£5 from each print will be donated to The Sussex Wildlife Trust.