The Plant as a Living Creature

All images from Ernst Fuhrmann, Die Pflanze als Lebewesen [The Plant as a Living Creature], 1930.

Less well-known than his contemporary Karl Blossfeldt, Ernst Fuhrmann (1886-1956) was a writer, philosopher, self-taught biologist, photographer and editor (head of the Folkwang publishing house and founder of the Folkwang-Auriga Archive).

Between 1924 and 1935, Fuhrmann published several popular books on plants, in which he developed his ‘biosophic’ theory of plants as living creatures endowed with latent organic energies and animal instincts.

Although Fuhrmann was under attack from the scientific establishment, writers such as Alfred Döblin wholeheartedly embraced his theory of plant-animal analogies (Alfred Döblin, “Die Pflanze als Lebewesen”, 18.12.1931).

Playing with the ‘objectivity’ of the photographic medium, Fuhrmann’s images use effects such as blurriness, magnification and strong light contrasts to emphasise the plants’ organic vitality and to highlight similarities with human and animal (sexual) organs.

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