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Fine Bonsai: Art and Nature
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In this luxurious cloth-bound hardcover with glossy slipcase, renowned botanical photographer Jonathan Singer presents his breathtaking images of the world's most notable bonsai. In Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature, the finest extant achievements in the art of bonsai are seen together for the first time, through the lens of renowned botanical photographer Jonathan Singer. This magnificent volume is the result of an extensive photographic campaign, in the course of which Singer was granted unprecedented access to the most respected public and private collections in Japan and the United States, including the mecca of bonsai, the Omiya Bonsai Village of Saitama, Japan, where photography is normally prohibited. Three hundred stunning full-page images and four lavish gatefolds present bonsai of all types, from quiet representations of nature to bold sculptural forms. The horticultural and aesthetic characteristics of each bonsai are concisely and authoritatively described in the narrative captions by William Valavanis, head of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York. And because the container is considered an integral part of any bonsai indeed, the literal meaning of  bonsai" is  tray plant" the book also includes some twenty-five photographs of traditional bonsai containers, with descriptions. A further sequence of twenty-five photographs is devoted to the related art of suiseki, or miniature stone landscapes displayed in the same manner, and often alongside,bonsai. With his groundbreaking first book, Botanica Magnifica, Jonathan Singer established a new style of botanical photography, characterized by an exceptional clarity of detail and richness of color, as well as a painterly chiaroscuro. These qualities are just as evident in the present volume; Singer photographs each bonsai with an artist's one might even say a portraitist's eye. Whereas most books on bonsai aim to instruct readers on techniques of care and cultivation, Singer's book takes the reader on a visual journey. His images encompass many different species, from azalea to red maple, as well as a variety of blossoms and fruits. Alluring and serene, Singer's photographs make the experience of leafing through Bonsai not unlike entering a real Japanese garden. Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature not only documents the masterpieces of an ancient horticultural art, but is a masterpiece in itself. A portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit the Japanese Red Cross.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents from: Fine Bonsai: Foreword by Hiroshi Takeyama Preface by Jonathan M. Singer Introduction by William N. Valavanis Nature & The Art of Bonsai by W. John Kress A Brief History of Bonsai by Thomas S. Elias Bonsai Aesthetics PLATES captions by William N. Valavanis APPENDICES Bonsai Containers Suiseki: Stone Appreciation captions by Sean Smith Selecting the Bonsai for Photographing by William N. Valavanis Significant Collections & Celebrated Artists by William N. Valavanis Kyuka-en Bonsai Garden Seiko-en Bonsai Garden Mansei-en Bonsai Garden Omiya Bonsai Art Museum Masahiko Kimura Fuyo-En Bonsai Garden S-Cube Uchiku-Tei Bonsai Garden Shunka-en Bonsai Museum Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection The Kennett Collection National Bonsai & Penjing Museum Golden State Bonsai Federation Collection at the Huntington International Bonsai Arboretum Acknowledgments Index

About the Author

Jonathan M. Singer's double-elephant folio of Botanica Magnifica is kept in the Cullman Rare Book Room at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Dr. Singer was named a Hasselblad Laureate Award winner (2008) and Carl Linnaeus Silver Medalist from the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (2009) based on his contribution marrying art with science, and to "our perception and appreciation of the botanical world." His many achievements include his appointment as Research Collaborator, Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. William N. Valavanis has made over fifty trips to Japan where he apprenticed with well-known bonsai artists Kyuzo Murata and Kakutaro Komuro in Omiya Bonsai Village in Japan. He is the proprietor of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York, where he maintains a collection of classical bonsai. His is also the Publisher and Editor of International BONSAI.

Reviews

Praise for Fine Bonsai: "With his last book, Jonathan Singer established himself as the Audubon of flowers. Well, one of the most brilliant nature photographers of our generation has done it again. For this amazing volume Singer was granted unprecedented access to some of the world's best bonsai specimens. His portraits capture these botanical masterpieces in all their glory and mystique. Behold the Audubon of Bonsai!" -- David Seideman, Editor-in-Chief, Audubon Magazine "This is a dazzling book by one of the world's most gifted photographers." -- Milton Esterow, Publisher, ARTnews "This delicate balance between nature and art is even more beguiling when considered through Singer's exquisite photographs." -- ARTnews "...Under the eye of renowned photographer Jonathan M. Singer the curious shapes and slightly disorienting scales have found a new context in which to be appreciated." -- Publisher's Weekly "Retired podiatrist Jonathan Singer has worked magic in [Fine] Bonsai: Art and Nature, an elegant album featuring hundreds of full-page images of the miniature potted trees that represent a horticultural art form dating back 2,000 years." -- Audubon Magazine "Dr. Singer combined his interest in botany and horticulture with his technical and aesthetic expertise to produce stunning photographs of some of the most extraordinary bonsai in the world. Printed by a chromogenic process, the images take on a three-dimensional appearance that accentuates both their beauty and their usefulness as documentation of this specialized subject." -- Smithsonian Institution Libraries "What a bonsai gallery book should strive to be...exceeds my lofty expectations...a book for anyone...I would buy this book in a heartbeat." -- of Bonsai Magazine "These are not your traditional images of bonsai...Each tree depicted has its unique character, and the artist has focused on the most beautiful, powerful, evocative or sculptural element in each." -- Golden Statements, magazine of the Golden State Bonsai Federation "A book of this caliber should do three things: provide aesthetic beauty, educate the viewer, and spark enthusiasm--new or renewed--for bonsai. Fine Bonsai accomplishes all three." --International Bonsai "When I sit down at my desk in Copenhagen and look up, the first and most beautiful thing I see is a spectacular Jonathan Singer photograph of flowers hanging on my wall. It gives me calm when I need a moment to refocus. Having lived in Japan for eighteen years, I had many occasions to enjoy and contemplate the mystery of bonsai, and still do. Jonathan Singer's photographs help unveil that mystery, and provide all of us with the chance to see and contemplate on this ancient art form at any time. Victor Hasselblad founded the company because of his great love for nature photography. If he could see this book, he would be so proud that one of his Hasselblad cameras was the partner of Jonathan Singer to help create such beautiful images." -- Dr. Larry Hansen, Chairman & CEO, Hasselblad

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