Bloom by Ben Cave Book Launch
Wednesday, 3 December, 6.30 – 9.30 pm

Please join us for the launch of Ben Cave’s Bloom, a photographic exploration of the world of flora through two contrasting but interrelated subjects.

A series of landscapes focuses on four plants that have been categorised as invasive non-native species in Great Britain. Once prized for their ornamental attributes, these ‘alien invaders’ are now frequently condemned for their impact on the environment and economy. The interleaved still lifes depict careful arrangements of cultivated flowers and vegetables, which have been entered for competition at local horticultural shows.

The work was shot over a number of years at various locations around the UK, with the artist taking on the role of a modern-day plant hunter, tracking down species and finding suitable locations in which to photograph them. The resulting book evokes a contemporary British suburbia, a borderland of dual carriageways, canals and back gardens with glimpses of school halls, scout huts, churches and county fairs.

Many of the photographs are presented in pairs, linked across pages by the mirroring of form and colour, and the sequence of images is often subtle and startling by turns. The twisted, dark interior of a rhododendron bush is followed by delicate floral arrangements in teacups. After a creeping mass of Japanese Knotweed come sports-themed bouquets in matching hues.

By juxtaposing these two very different ways in which human beings encounter and represent the natural world, Bloom raises questions about shifting notions of foreignness and the indigenous ideal. It highlights the often fraught relationship between nurture and control, and prompts us to reconsider our perceptions of beauty and nature.

Ben Cave is an artist based in London, and a graduate of the MA Photography course at the London College of Communication. He designed and self-published Bloom, which is his first book.