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Incredible photos that are developed in plant leaves using their natural pigments

Incredible photos that are developed in plant leaves using their natural pigments

Taco de reina, tobacco, ivy, blackberry, paradise, elephant ear, and even parsley are just some of the plants that a Uruguayan photographer used to develop the photographs he took of his son.

Federico Ruiz Santesteban decided to resort to an old technique that uses plant photosensitivity to print images, that is, the leaves and petals do not contain inks, chemicals, or added emulsions, and that is what makes this work interesting: using chlorophyll and pigments of nature.

Under the title ‘The strange case of the gardener’, Ruiz symbolically revealed a story, since it involves photographs that show the growth of his son, who since he was a child expressed a great interest in taking care of the garden. The idea that this sample reflects is that the plants began to thank the child for the care he gave them, through these 'revelations'.


For those interested in the technical aspect of the process through which it was possible to obtain these photographs: from a digital photograph converted into a piece that is used as the 'negative', the sun's rays are used as an 'enlarger' and leaves and petals such as photographic paper that instead of containing an artificial emulsion, have their natural photosensitive components, which are exposed to the sun generating shadows and access to light. The leaves and petals begin to work when they are still alive, and it could be said that the way to develop photos in them is about a 'selective withering'.


Experimenting with natural emulsions represents the possibility of access for more people to learn this type of photography, so this work could represent the beginning of something bigger.

The Federal


Video: Plant Pigments (June 2021).