Leendert Blok (1895–1986) experimented with colour photography and the use of the panoramic format. In the twenties, the Dutch photographer worked in close collaboration with flower producers, providing colour prints and autochromes for the display catalogues of the various species they cultivated. Blok captured flowers like objects of desire, using the Autochrome Lumière technique.
For Blok, photography relates above all to the gaze. Muted tones and soft bronze hues reveal a timeless world of flora, in which corolla, petals, and buds are sublimated by chiaroscuro. The flowers stand out against a plain dark background, alluding to the famous vanitas of the Dutch Golden Age. Tulips, dahlias, daffodils, irises, hyacinths, and peonies reveal themselves in all their glorious diversity. The photographs of Leendert Blok are reminiscent of botanists’ slides of yore, immersing us in the immanence of plant life, in which each flower becomes sculpture.