The Arty Semite

From Feet to Flowers: The Artistic Trajectory of Jonathan Singer

By Benjamin Ivry

  • Print
  • Share Share

How did a nice Jewish podiatrist from Bayonne, New Jersey become an internationally famous glamor photographer of flowers? That question may be mulled over by visitors to the exhibit of photos by Jonathan Singer, which opened May 14 and runs until June 4 at the Legends Gallery in Chatham, New Jersey.

Last year Abbeville Press published Singer’s “Botanica Magnifica: Portraits of the World’s Most Extraordinary Flowers and Plants” now also available in a luxury edition complete with leather spine. Abbeville’s forthcoming followup, “Tulipae Hortorum” (garden tulips), will be available in August and is limited to 33 sets of 10 photos each by Singer.

Originally made as a one-off tribute to these flowers, “Tulipae Hortorum” was presented last year by the photographer to the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. Now on view until August 31 at Stockholm’s Observatory Museum, these tulip photographs have a “starting price” of $10,000 per set, according to the publisher. That may seem high, but original sets of the vaster “Botanica Magnifica” photos are reportedly fetching $2.5 million from avid collectors.

Undeniably luxuriant, these high-focus, anthropomorphic closeups devote attention to flowers usually accorded to movie stars, but they also contain formal investigations which may derive from Singer’s early studies with the Russian Jewish abstract painter Ilya Bolotowsky. Bolotowsky was deeply entrenched in the natural world and his imagery can sometimes evoke scientific printouts of blood scans, DNA, medical data and even cellular activity.

Singer fulfilled his mother’s dream by becoming a podiatrist and surgeon, but a bout with Parkinson’s disease curtailed his surgical practice. Now he follows Bolotowsky in these dignified, indeed worshipful tributes to nature’s complexity and permanent charm.

Watch Jonathan Singer speak at the Smithsonian Institution last year:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Photography, Jonathan Singer, Ilya Bolotowsky

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.