SANDER MEISNER: “Botanica” (2012)





Sander Meisner

52 pp / 237 x 280 mm
Perfect Bound with Dust Jacket
Colour Offset
ISBN 978-1-908889-00-3
Limited Edition of 500


By Paul Loomis, October, 2012

Botanica documents wooded spaces that are usually ignored – strips of trees between highways and behind gas stations, deserted gardens outside of parking lots, lone trees illuminated by the sun during the day and by sodium arc lights from the street at night. These spaces contain a peculiar magic. They are silent in the center of a loud and busy world, they disappear next to the practical things that surround them, but they’re there, waiting to be discovered.

Botanica’s photographs are shot largely at night, and skilfully transform solitary spaces into glowing, wildly lit portraits packed with form and color. Many of the photographs are quite beautiful, however, their content is uniform, and by the book’s end not one person has walked amid the naked trees and english ivy. Pictures without people have a long history, but those found in Botanica are neither landscapes nor abstractions.

The book is a study of spaces that are potentially interesting because of how people interact with them, or don’t, and many of the photographs excerpt even the geometries of the built environment – highways, buildings, fences – that supposedly surround them. What we are left with feels myopic – strangely lit trees without a context to hold them. For once, we want the photographer to take several steps back, to zoom out and show us what is important, and why.

Ultimately: an interesting book, but over-focused on it’s trees. Fails to give a reason why we should be concerned. Definitely a selection of very beautiful photographs for those interested in ambient compositions.


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