When Martin Munkacsi arrived in Berlin in 1927, he found a metropolis bursting with artistic innovation. Photography was particularly fertile ground for the principles of Surrealism, the New Vision, and the New Objectivity, all of which had captured the imaginations of many avant-garde photographers. Munkacsi was introduced to these ideas through his employer Kurt Safranski, the managing editor of the Ullstein publications, and began to conduct his own experiments in the late 1920s. This image was likely one such enterprise; it features the close-up view favored by avant-garde photographers, and the unusual cropping is characteristic of Surrealism, in which disembodied lips regularly materialized as erotic symbols. [quoted from The Met]
All four photographs in this post were taken by David Castenson at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Virginia, between 2021 and 2022. You can follow the link to his Flickr to view them in hi-res and more detailed information.
Album of photographs of tree peonies, published: 1968. Presented to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1971 by William Gratwick.
Unsigned black-and-white photographs of black and white tree peonies by Nassos Daphnis, Minor White, and William Gratwick. The prints, which illustrate various species of tree peonies at different stages of their development, including embryo, bud, full flower, and seed pod, were probably made at the Gratwick nursery, Linwood Gardens, in Pavilion, New York, possibly in the mid-1950s and 1960s, and assembled by Gratwick ca. 1968. Gratwick had worked for Arthur P. Saunders, a chemistry professor at Hamilton College and the first significant breeder of peonies and tree peonies in America, who began hybridizing peonies in 1915; and when Saunders died in 1953, Gratwick inherited his stock of tree peonies. He moved them to his nursery in Pavilion, and continued his breeding work with a former New York artist, Nassos Daphnis, who had given up painting for botany in 1946.
quoted from Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library at internet archive
Our note: the last image is identical as the Hira no yoki photograph above, so datation by Swann Galleries should amended. Maybe the photo was printed ca. 1973 but was clearly shot before 1968 (date of publication of the Gratwick album).
“It’s only once in a blue moon that days like these can happen but, when they do, they add a new dimension to the years that follow.” – Opening text of In a blue moon by Nell Dorr.
In a Blue Moon, a small hardcover made up of many of the same images from Mangroves (*) but printed in photogravure. Lettering by George A. DuBerg.
(*) Mangroves, a softbound portfolio of her photographs was self-published in a limited edition, under her first married name, Nell Koons. It comprises two of her poems and fifteen tipped-in halftones of flowers and nude girls and women, often perched in trees.
In a blue moon combines dream-like images of nude women with close-up and abstracted images of flowers. The narrative of this photo-novella is the transition into adulthood. The effect of this book is that something that has so much potential to be lame – pictures of girls, pictures of flowers, girls and flowers and girls with flowers in their hair – actually comes across as being quite profound and unashamedly beautiful. Nell Dorr photographed with a Rollei camera only ever using available natural light. The simplicity of her approach did not necessarily mean simplicity in the results that she achieved. Her imagery is filled with amazing abstract constructions and her portraits have an almost primal quality. Her photographs are the autobiographical work of a strong and sensitive woman who created an internal place where beauty and truth could still flourish. [quoted from an article by Matthew Carson (Head Librarian & Archivist at the International Center of Photography) on Monsters & Madonnas]
ICP · International Center of Photography
Monsters & Madonnas (ICP blog)