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Warwick Orme
Published by Random House
Reviewed by Ray Cottle

THOSE for whom botanical photography is just a means of identifying a species might be better to leave this book sitting on the coffee table. Floranova is a big book, both in format and in terms of the vision of its creator, Sydney-based photographer Warwick Orme. Using a digital camera and technology as his paintbrush, Orme homes in on his subject matter, paring away and recomposing elements of flowers in a quest to portray their visual essence - their form and colour. The result is striking page after striking page - images, not of flowers as we know them, but flowers anew - "flora nova".

The man who's made a living photographing fashion models for such titles as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar says he loves looking at extreme close-ups of botanical specimens as their simplicity interests him. In his fashion work he was captivated by "the way clothes worked against or with the negative space that encompassed them".

Just as British flower painter Jo Self compels viewers to revisit the plants that inspire her canvases, so Orme's work leads us back into our gardens.

"I find when [people now] see the flower for real, they tend to look a little closer," he said in a recent interview. "The modern world we're living in can be too busy, fraught with too many emails and things like that. People enjoy the peace and serenity of being with their plants."

If you, too, would like your eyes opened afresh on your garden, buy this lyrical book.

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: March 1, 2021