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 (University of Chicago Press, 2016), examines the art & science of plant biology in 19th-century wall charts. The large-format book includes artifacts & research from archives in Prague, Berlin, London, Cambridge, New York, and elsewhere. Organized taxonomically, chapters compare the depiction of species within plant families, including scientific summaries of each chart. A botany primer with contextualised background, the book emulates a Victorian classroom while providing biographies of renowned illustrators & scientists.
In ‘Dispersal’, a series of photographic portraits exploring the form & function of seed dispersal. Individually, each work is a fine art portrait illustrating the architecture of a fruit (seed pod). Collectively, the series reveals the staggering diversity of textures, colors, and forms that species have evolved in pursuit of survival & reproduction. Drawing on the botanical heritage of botanic illustration and specimen photography, Laurent’s work is a study of both science & beauty. The project began in 2012 and is ongoing. She has collected all specimens, either in the wild, or at participating botanic gardens & arboreta.
‘Dispersal’ exhibitions include the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, London, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, as well as gardens in Amsterdam, Italy, Gibraltar, Sydney, and New York City. In 2017 ‘Dispersal’ was awarded a silver-gilt medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for a selection of works juried for the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2018 the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew commissioned a series of seed portraits to be permanently displayed alongside living plants in the Temperate House, the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world.
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.