18 September 2017

Living La Vida Flora

Over a five-year period travelling South-East Asia, photographer Dina Lun has documented enough exotic plants to fill the whole garden of Eden and then some. Fully embracing the tropical variety of the region’s horticulture, the Russian-born photographer's latest series is a visual delight in which colour, composition and an innate simplicity take centre stage. The resulting work is a detailed exploration of the wild varieties of plants that she came across whilst travelling and how this was in keeping with the wild nature of the broader environment, people and happenings in these areas. With greenery aplenty and a knack for juxtaposing the fragility of flowers against extrinsic backdrops, plants serve as Lun's willing models, each with their own character, quirk and beauty.


“Among my favourite places are the quiet village of Pai in the North of Thailand, Nepal with its cedar incense, Bali which I explored throughout during the six months there. I’m always very inspired by the coexistence of the wild variety of plants and the similarly wild daily life of the metropolis – the best places to experience this are Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore,” Lun explains, suggesting that the setting is what makes the plants she photographs all the more alluring,


Lun’s interest in plants in rooted far deeper than just the aesthetic: she’s a botany scholar and has an ambition of creating her own encyclopaedia of plant species from various corners of the world. In the time free from travelling, she runs online magazine Organica dedicated to nature and flora in contemporary photography — the two for her always go hand in hand.


“The world of plants is the whole universe which is always interesting to observe. For me, flowers and plants are like models for photographers who do portraits or fashion. They are also temporary and each of them have their own character. For me they’re more subjects than objects, perfect models to shoot during travelling,” she explains.


At times, Lun’s dedication also leads to unplanned adventures. “Sometimes taking a photo of a certain flower or fruit can be a very fulfilling challenge”, she says. “Once I saw a dragon fruit flower, but was too lazy to get off the bike to take a picture. When I returned to the same place the next day, the flower was gone — turned out it only blossoms for a couple of hours at night. In the end, we spent a few hours driving around in the dark to capture the beautiful moment.”