Entry Title: "Tulipmania"
Name: David Leaser , United States
Category and Expertise: Flowers, Professional


Entry Description: Tulipmania features rare and unusual tulips, including heirloom tulips grown from bulbs collected 500 years ago during the tulip craze in Holland. Several images are similar to Semper Augustus, once so rare it was worth the price of a city block of houses in 1600s Holland, sparking the world’s first economic bubble that burst when prices became overinflated. The collection exhibits intense detail and clarity. Each image is a focus stack, combining multiple images taken at different focus distances to create a work with extreme depth of field. Each tulip in the collection was chosen for its unique sense of movement and flow. When you gaze upon Tulipmania, you are transported to the flower fields of the Dutch Renaissance, where tulips rose from their status as wildflowers to become one of the most sought-after and iconic flowers in civilization.

About the Artist:

David Leaser creates dramatic images of landscapes and botanicals. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, and he has authored four books, including two photographic monographs. Leaser’s Tropical Gardens of Hawaii and Palm Trees: A Story in Photographs have received critical acclaim; the latter was also featured at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. David began taking photos at a young age. He received a Polaroid Swinger camera from his parents at age six, and he has been taking photographs ever since. After completing the photographic essay, Tropical Gardens of Hawaii, Leaser spent a day at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in California. The Huntington was featuring an exhibit of paintings from Frederic Church, arguably the most successful 19th century American artist. Church’s realistic images of the Andes and Amazon inspired Leaser to travel to South America and retrace his footsteps. In the Amazon, David studied the details of the small flowers on the rainforest floor. Each small flower contained its own ecosystem for the small insects and reptiles. In the depths of the jungle, he had an epiphany: why not show viewers the most intricate, intimate workings of these tiny flowers? David is dedicating himself to creating a collection of botanical images that will show viewers the miracle of nature. He believes, after studying his botanical work, viewers will never look at flowers in the same way again.