Since 2011, Flower artist Makoto Azuma and botanical photographer Shunsuke Shiinoki have collaborated on their series, Encyclopedia of Flowers, which focuses in part on market-related changes that impact floristry, such as the disappearance and new emergence of species, as well as on changing the common perception of flowers.
The first volume of the series was released in 2011 with a follow up soft cover version in 2012. It introduced the beautiful color photographs of flowers and the world of floristry that both Azuma and Shiinoki have built up with the series.
Softcover, Perfect-bound with dust jacket, 542 pages, 6.3 inches x 9.8 inches, Japanese/English, Second Edition, Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc., 2012.
The second in the series focuses on the ephemeral nature of flowers while working to conserve in a concrete, tangible form the passage of time they embody, the authors use two techniques. The first highlights the flowers’ features and a sense of presence by picturing them from overhead. The second applies a lateral perspective to capture the life force of plants as they stretch towards the sun. In contrast to the first edition, natural light sources were used as much as possible to illuminate the exceptionally dense and colorful palettes on display.
Softcover, Perfect-bound with dust jacket, 542 pages, 6.3 inches x 9.8 inches, Japanese/English, Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc., 2013.
The third installment features a greater variety of styles, reflected in photographs divided into seven chapter-categories that include Coexistence, Hybrid, Chiaroscuro, and Autogenesis. The myriad arrangements done in Azuma’s singular style are expertly captured by Shiinoki’s camera.
Softcover, Perfect-Bound with Dust Jacket, 544 pages, 6.3 inches x 9.8 inches, Japanese/English, Hideaki Yasuda, Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.
The fourth edition adds five new series to the ones established in previous editions: Earth, Horizon, Ambiguity, Torus, and Matrix. Filled with Shiinoki’s breathtaking photographs of flowers and botanical displays, the book celebrates nature’s diversity and beauty, as well as the poignant, temporal notion of a plant in bloom. It gives an overview of Azuma’s numerous experiments in presentation and new compositions, with hopes that flowers might be seen as a kind of prayer that goes beyond national and religious boundaries, transcending sex, race, and ethnicity. Softcover, perfect-bound with dust jacket, 472 pages, ills colour, 17 x 25 cm, pb, Japanese/English.
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