‘Botanica’ by Howard Schatz – Book Review

Why ‘Botanica‘?

Why a book on flowers by Howard Schatz on a site about glamour photography?

Howard Schatz is the photographer responsible for popularizing the art nude underwater dancer genre.

Botanica, Flower Blossom, Howard SchatzSchatz’s other books include:

Howard is in fact, along with his producer/editor/wife Beverly J. Ornstein, the photographer/author on something like 20 photography books, including the soon to be released  WITH Child’ of art maternity photos.

With Child, Howard Schatz, art nude maternity, nude maternitySubstantial preview & preorder of ‘WITH Child’ available on Amazon by clicking here

Again, these are but a few of the titles Howard has published.  His work is represented in galleries around the world.  His prints are in museums and people’s homes.

His books are legion, and many like ‘Nude Body Nude‘ which we will soon be reviewing, are out of print and collectible.

So, what about ‘Botanica‘?

Well, it’s a book of very few words and lots of pictures.

The pictures are of rare beautiful flowers.

If you like macro and close up shots of flowers, this might be a book for you.

The settings are simple.  Single flower buds, or a flowered stems.  Shot  on largely monochrome, often black or white, backdrops.

Botanica, Rear Cover, Schatz, OrchidThe flowers are beautiful.   While many of the flowers are unlike those I have seen, I am not finding a hugely ‘artistic’ feel to the photos… Again, art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.

While I’m a big Howard fan, these shots appear more like product photos of flower blossoms.

I really love his work, and own many of his books.

These photos he shot his photos using:

  • Initially a Hasselblad ELX with 120 macro lens with close-up bellows, on Kodak E100S flim
  • Switching to a Hasselblad H1 with Leaf Valeo 22 digital back, using 50-110 zoom lens, with extension rings
  • All images lit with Chimera softboxes B000H7790U and Balcar Strobes

Schatz began by initially shooting the Hasselblad’s ELX with film, then switched to the digital H1.

One would think that Howard had substantial print sizes in mind with the medium format film Hasselblad.

In 2005, when this volume was published, while a Hasselblad H1 was far out for digital photography, the Valeo 22, I am postulating was only 22 Megapixels.  So, the largest possible blow up could not have been the driving consideration, as medium format film would then have been the natural choice for max blow ups.

OrchidIn keeping with the Hasselblad medium format, the shots are usually square as is the book.

Botanica‘ is 12″x12″0.75″ and 156 pages.

Most pages are full and two page photo spreads.  There is very little writing.

A few pages front and back of credits, thanks yous, a description of the flower names, and the like.

There is next to nothing on how, other than this bit of gear, as to the mechanics of the photography.    The photographs speak for themselves.  This is a book of photographs…

One of the interesting bits of writing is the list on page 146 of over 50 books on flower photography Schatz cites as having influenced his work

Like all us photographers, we may be know for a style.

Still, we will explore subjects and genres, outside what we are known for.

As we explore, we learn.

We learn from our own photos, and from the photos of others who are our peers.

Seriously, if you love Schatz for his photographs of women and are not so interested in other genres, check out some of the other reviews listed above for some of Schatz’s other works.

If you are interested to see what Schatz did here or a flower lover, Botanica‘ is available from under $20.00 used on Amazon, by clicking here.


 

 
For a listing of Books Reviewed on GlamourPhotography.co, click here.

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