Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Profiles, Interviews, and Reviews => Topic started by: JRob on August 19, 2012, 04:15 PM

Title: Fine Bonsai - Art & Nature
Post by: JRob on August 19, 2012, 04:15 PM
Good Afternoon All,

Yesterday a group of us from St. Louis took a coach ride up to the Chicago Botanical Gardens to see the bonsai show and display that was judged by Peter Warren. We had a fantastic time and congratulate their club for a very fine event.

While there my wife asked me if I saw anything I'd like for a Christmas present so I immediately headed back to William Valavanis' booth and bought a copy of "Fine Bonsai - Art & Nature" with photographs by Jonathan M. Singer and text by William N. Valavanis. The book was published by Abbeville Press, New York & London 2012. Since hearing about it I have been anticipating seeing it and was not disappointed. It is worth every dollar. It is an oversized format and truly spectacular.

Mr. Singer is a renowned botanical photographer who has earned the monikers "Rembrandt with a camera" and "The Master of Light". He and Mr. Valavanis were granted unprecedented access to the most respected public and private collections in the United States and Japan. There are over 300 full page photographs of exquisite bonsai against a black background which mimic the oils of the Dutch Masters. They are beautifully done and meant to give the viewer a captivating display of color, form and light. They do not disappoint. The turn of every page takes your breath away with one spectacular shot after another. These are the very images one envision in the minds eye when one hears the word bonsai.

Mr. Valavanis has accompanied each plate with a clear concise and authoritative description of its horticultural and aesthetic characteristics. In addition to an Introduction there are short sections on  the Nature & Art of Binsai, A Brief History of Bonsai and Bonsai Aesthetics. The appends cover short sections on Bonsai Containers, Suiseki, Selecting the Bonsai for Photographing and Significant Collections & Celebrated Artist.

Finally, Mr Valavanis says that this is not a textbook but rather a photographic collection of fine bonsai. Although I understand the point that he is making, that the book contains very little actual text, it certainly communicates and teaches us much though its visual impact.  These are how fine classical bonsai look and therefore it can teach us a lot about how fine our own trees should look and they should become role models for what we should strive for in our own trees. It speaks volumes and I believe my own collection will improve dramatically over time as I continue to study its pages and apply the lessons learned to my own trees. In my opinion every serious student should make the investment and own a copy. It certain has set a very high standard for all future books of this format.

Happy viewing everyone,

Title: Re: Fine Bonsai - Art & Nature
Post by: William N. Valavanis on August 20, 2012, 07:34 PM
Thanks for the kind words! It was a pleasure to finally meet you JRob. I hope you enjoy reading the history of each bonsai as well as appreciating the breathtaking art photos.

Title: Re: Fine Bonsai - Art & Nature
Post by: JRob on September 01, 2012, 05:46 PM
Good Afternoon Bill & friends,

Thought you'd like to see the display that greeted the festival goers as they entered the Missouri Botanical Garden's gift shop this weekend during the 3 day Japanese Festival. Notice anything special?