Robert Llewellyn has been a professional photographer for over 40 years, and his detailed images of trees, buds, flowers and leaves have gained much critical acclaim. In his life and work, he makes the distinction between “looking,” which he considers passive, and “seeing,” which is active.
While working on the book, Remarkable Trees of Virginia (2008), a collaboration with garden writer Nancy Ross Hugo, Llewellyn began to more fully understand the complexity of tree life. “First, they are living things: they are born, they die,” he says. “And second, they live in communities.” Many of the images included in this exhibition are from his newest collections of photographs, Seeing Trees (2011) and Seeing Flowers (2013). His entire body of work is infused with an enduring inquisitiveness about the way plants work and an accompanying sense of wonder.
Although traditional macro photography only allows a single area of focus in an image, Llewellyn developed an alternative method that provides an unlimited depth of field. Combining his knowledge of engineering and contemporary technology, he creates images in full focus: every bud, leaf, and flower is photographed up to 50 times at various distances, and the final work is a composite of the sharpest areas of each picture. The resulting photographs are of stunning, hyper-real clarity, as if Llewellyn has found a way to circumvent the limitations of the human eye and the magnifying camera lens.
His photographs have been featured in numerous art exhibits, and more than thirty books featuring his photography are in print. His book Washington, The Capital (1981) was an official diplomatic gift of the White House and State Department.
"Robert Llewellyn has a photographic talent of a very high order." — Reid Beddow, The Washington Post
The Living Forest (2017)
“Arresting photographs combine with musings about the web of life in deciduous forests in this coffee-table book.”
"In years past, Robert Llewellyn has blown our minds with the indelibly detailed photographs in “Seeing Trees,” “Seeing Flowers” and “Seeing Seeds.” [Here] he has teamed up with Joan Maloof, the founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, to peer into the mystery and magic of our woodlands."
Dominique Browning, The New York Times
"This celebration of forests' many layers of beauty is a gift for the senses, intellect, and emotions."
David George Haskill, The Songs of Trees
Seeing Trees (2011)
"The authors have brought the level of observation to new heights, presenting the daintiest parts of trees — buds, flower parts and seeds in various stages of ripening — in a way that hasn’t been seen, generally."
The Washington Post