Untitled Vol.2 is Anna Agoston’s second self-published book of photographs with text. Its 50 stunning black-and-white images of plant parts were photographed in nature with a macro photography lens. The photographs are part of “Untitled,” a 245-item ongoing master series in which small, inconsequential and often overlooked subjects are shown to be unique and precious.
Agoston, who thinks of her photographs as sculpture, emphasizes architecture through form and texture. She reveals depth in her deliberately volumetric photographs by contrasting light with shadow on curved or flat planes. She also stresses what the forms she photographs may evoke in the viewer. Certain subjects, because of their apparent physicality, the way they hang, and the way they intertwine, suggest animal and/or human behaviors like withdrawal, protection, or seduction.
Plants growing outdoors – whether in the countryside, parks, or gardens – all move with the breeze and as their buds burgeon, their stems bend, and their petals unfurl. It is the use of digital technology that allows Agoston to overcome such movement and to work until planes of focus match the areas that she has deemed important to expose. Her decision to photograph plants in nature is just as important as it gives her an unlimited choice of subjects and allows her to observe how their elements naturally hang or stand, and how natural light defines form by the way it falls on them.
“Untitled”’s photographs are abstract in their departure from reality because Agoston uses black and white, a macro lens, and symmetry and composition to distill chosen aspects of her subjects. Yet the series is hyperrealistic in that images present sharp, high-resolution fragments of seemingly palpable substance. The photographs comprise a romantic spectrum of forms in which feeling is perceptible and the images’ order facilitates smooth movement between and comparison of one to another. Agoston wants a walk through the series to provoke an inner experience that renews the viewer's sensitivity to the natural world. Magnifying small details of plant life that might otherwise go unnoticed brings out their monumental beauty, triggers amazement, and revives from within. By inviting contemplation, her art transcends its subjects.
Since its publication in May 2015, Agoston’s Untitled Vol.2 is now in the libraries of the Museum of Modern Art (August), the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Harvard Art Museums (September), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (December). It is available through Amazon.