Katinka Matson: A new twist on botanical images

– Posted in: Flowers on the Brain

Katinka Matson does not photograph flowers–she scans them. I don’t know how she manages to not flatten them, or how she gets a black background, but they look almost three dimensional, and the colors are exceptionally vibrant. Besides the front page, check out the artist’s bio page (which has an explanation of her technique) and also these prints. Truly amazing. Thanks to Doug Green for the tip.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jane April 10, 2007, 9:30 am

They’re beautiful. I’ve been messing around with scanning flowers for a few years, too, sporadically. The first time I ever did it, we were running an article on Japanese anemones in the UGJ but I had no photographs or illustrations to use, and this was well before digital cameras were affordable for the average person. I went outside, cut one down, plopped it on the scanner bed and crossed my fingers. It turned out pretty well. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Kathy Purdy April 6, 2007, 6:48 am

Matson does mention a NYTimes article in the bibliography section of her bio page, but it’s not the same one that Ellis Hollow cites in his blog post.

Carol April 5, 2007, 9:38 pm

These look neats. Let’s all try it!

Tracy April 5, 2007, 6:21 pm

Yes, like Ki and Ellis said, just put it on the platen and scan. Just don’t put the cover down. You can try it without a black cloth and may still get a black background – it depends on the scanner. I’m sure that Matson probably also touches up in Photoshop.

Ellis Hollow April 5, 2007, 6:20 am

There was an article in the NY Times a couple years ago about a woman who used this technique, but I don’t think it was Katinka (unless she’s seriously upgraded her website). This other woman (who I corresponded with for awhile) primarily scanned arrangements that ended up looking like old-fashioned pressed flower arrangements only with the vibrant colors and 3-D effects.

I tried a few then, and have always wanted to go back and do more. You simply arrange the flowers on the platen of a scanner and scan. You can put a black (or some other color) piece of cloth over the scanner or do it at night to get different background effects.

Try it. Fiddle around with it. It’s not as hard as it looks.

Ki April 5, 2007, 6:15 am

The scans are beautiful. I’ve seen other scans of sea shells and they were similarly amazing. I believe you just place the object on the scanning bed, turn out the light and start scanning. I heard someone also lifted the scanner and pointed it towards a brightly lit scene, essentially using the scanner as a camera, and took photos this way. But I haven’t seen any pictures from that method so it may just be another urban legend. Besides you would have to contend with trailing a cord and also I don’t know if the light bar would work in an upright position. Thanks for the link to the scan site.