The new issue of THE PLANT comes with a new design. It is the first issue that is not dedicated to a single plant, the magazine now is an ode to all nature, plants and gardening, a celebration of earth. It has a new masthead and a new design, a new format, a new section and of course new stories. As a curious observer of ordinary plants and other greenery, the magazine brings together photographers, illustrators, designers, musicians, writers and visual artists; both established and emerging, from all over the world, to share with The Plant their perceptions and experiences around plants.
The new issue opens with California in pure black and white. Northern California, to be precise: 14 photographs by Brigitte Lacombe, French photographer living in New York, depicting a quiet countryside. Trees, meadows, hills and a few people. And the ocean of course, always the ocean. No subtitles, not a word on Brigitte, either you know her or you don’t. It is just what it is: pure photography. No further distraction.
After that a series of articles and interviews. Claire Touzard meets the Bouroullec Brothers in Paris: “The Bourellec brothers are utopians in the disguise of prolific designers. All they do is create vases, desks, textiles and spaces. They imagine architectural structures and cities, and the more they create and imagine, the more their mental universe flourishes. They present us with a better way of life”.
Then, from Japan: Mistletoe in Kyoto: “… an unconspicious plant until winter arrives. Few people take an interest in it, and many evidentily mistake mistletoe shrubs for bird’s nests”. But The Plant does, and illustrates it with a series of photo’s.
There is a lot more of Japan in this renewed magazine that has so many fans worldwide. An article on Sofu Teshigahara, The Man Who Turned Flowers into Contemporary Art, founder of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, the art of arranging flowers to idealise and stylise nature whilst reflecting the mind of the artist that created the work.
And the Flowers of Nobuyoshi Araki, also on the colour cover of this issue, world famous photographer, known for his explicit kinbaku photography, his preoccupation with lust and death. It is just that what his Flowers convey: that nature in spring is full of lust and botanical sexual energy.
The photo series of Scheltens & Abbenes, Balancing Water, compensates Araki’s intenseness. Its subject: the watering can, which is, as The Plant explains, invented in 1886 in London, by John Haws. Scheltens & Abbenes share 9 cans, stylishly and wet, photographed in technical perfection. Brand, volume and characteristics are mentioned: ‘Strata, UK. 7 litre. The boxy space-saving design from Nottinghamshire, England. Incredibly practical and comfortable-to-use dual handle shape…”
And there is more in the nearly 180 pages of this new and entirely renewned issue: Marcelo Gomes’ photography of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, picturing the openness of these uncrowded states. The Loose Leaves section, with one-pagers on gardening, plants, garden tools, with curious titles as The Avant-Gardener and Gods of Jumblingness. A beautifully illustrated article on nephology, the study of clouds, an interview with Jeremy Deller, the artist who worked a decade on his garden artwork Speak To Earth. A visit to the gardens of French Chateau de Villandry, the production of rose water in Iran. A camouflaged fashion shoot, photgraphed by Sam Rock. Many articles, many angles, all with that freshness of early spring.
Reading THE PLANT is a truely botanical experience not only because of the articles, the whole magazine is like a garden full of beautiful flowers, that makes you look closer, contemplate and enjoy beauty. A work of editorial ikebana, we would call it: “characteristics of ikebana can be defined in terms of lines and mass, colour, composition, space, volume, strength and delacacy”. Those are exactly the qualities that this inspirational magazine combines.