Born and raised Sydney, Australia, Daniel Shipp began his career in film and television, where he gradually found himself drawn to light and photography. His latest work is a series of elaborate photographic dioramas constructed in the studio in which nature, geography, and physics are shuffled to present familiar but fictional environments. The colour, shape, and texture of the unremarkable plants he has collected become storytelling elements which, when staged against the backdrop of common urban environments, provoke the viewer to imagine their own narratives.

His visual approach was influenced by Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora – a series of engraved plates commissioned in the 18th century which are a document for the classification of unusual botanical specimens presented in the form of darkly romanticised illustrations with an other-worldly aesthetic. ‘Botanical Inquiry’ alludes to the studied aspect of Temple of Flora but romanticises a new epoch where plants have adapted to the increasingly brutal impact of humans and now live amongst it.

“A long-standing interest in visual illusion steers the crafting of these images. They rely on the manipulation of optics made possible with a camera, and employ traditional cinematic techniques for achieving visual effects “in-camera” rather than on a computer. It was important to me that the images retain an organic, hand crafted quality and an imperfect atmosphere – one I didn’t believe I could achieve with digital compositing techniques. These images reframe how we might view small examples of life force in our daily lives but I would also suggest that they resonate with something broader and innate that connecting with plants can make us feel. I hope that these images remind us of a vitality that would be regrettable for us to lose touch with.” – Daniel Shipp


Botanical Inquiry by Daniel Shipp
On show 25th April – 3rd May 2015
Saint Cloche, 37 Macdonald Street, Paddington.


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[Images © Daniel Shipp.]


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