Anna Laurent is an award-winning flora-focused photographer and author. She is especially interested in the visual depiction of plants—as an author, throughout history, and as an artist—in contemporary practice.
Her first book, Botanical Art from the Golden Age of Scientific Discovery, published by University of Chicago Press in 2016, explores 19th century educational classroom boards. The large-format book includes documents and research conducted in Prague, Berlin, London, Cambridge, and elsewhere. Organized by plant family and using nineteenth-century educational posters as informative illustrations, the book emulates a Victorian classroom while providing biographies of renowned illustrators and scientists.
Her photography series ‘Dispersal’, she explores the myriad forms through which plants reproduce. The close-up photographs of fruits and seeds could easily be mistaken for works of abstract art or images of contemporary sculpture. In fact, each portrait captures a critical cycle in a plant’s life, the death of the flower and production of a seed. The works illustrate a diversity of textures, colors, and forms that have evolved to nurture and disperse a plant’s seeds. Drawing on the botanical heritage of fine-art illustration and photography, Laurent’s work serves as a reminder of the diversity, beauty, and fragility of the natural world, where form follows function, and the forms are breathtaking. She collects all specimens at partnering botanic gardens or arboreta, or in the wild.
In 2018 she was commissioned by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for a series of portraits featured in the interpretation at the renovated Temperate House. She photographed seeds and fruits from archives in London and the Millenium Seedbank in Wakehurst, and the series is permanently included alongside living plants at Kew, London. In 2017 she was awarded the bronze medal from IGPOTY, an annual international photography competition sponsored by the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, for which her Dispersal series travelled from London to Amsterdam, Italy, Gibraltar, Sydney, and New York City. She was also awarded a silver-gilt medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for a selection of works juried for the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show. Her photography has also exhibited across the United States including at Harvard University, University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, as well as in Dubai. Her work has been featured in the Boston Globe, Print Magazine, Garden Design Magazine, Harvard Magazine and HYMN.
Born in Boston, USA, Laurent studied at Harvard University and Massachusetts College of Art. She holds an MSc in History & Philosophy of Science, University College of London.