- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Stephen Voss Photography; 1st Edition edition (June 24, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0692585168
- ISBN-13: 978-0692585160
- Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 0.7 x 10.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In Training, a book of bonsai photos Hardcover – June 24, 2016
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In Training offers a new and unique viewpoint on what can be an all too rigid art form. By focusing on the details that interested him as an artist, Stephen Voss has managed to capture the truth and universal beauty that bonsai has to offer. Essential study for all serious bonsai enthusiasts as well as aesthetes. -- Peter Warren, Saruyama Bonsai
There's an intimacy to bonsai that is largely invisible. It exists in those sacred moments between artist and tree in partnership; an understanding of what is and can be as it unfolds over seasons and years. That proximity, the relationship that forms in the creative collaboration that makes up the art of bonsai is one of its most endearing qualities. Stephen's photographs shed a quiet, respectful light on these wonderful moments.
I feel fortunate to see such beauty being put into the world with the careful intention these trees deserve. --Ryan Neil, Bonsai Mirai
We were thrilled to hear a professional photographer, Stephen Voss, took on Bonsai as a subject of photography. Being an artist as well as an outsider to the Bonsai community, Stephen succeeded in showing us a whole other side of the trees we re so passionate about. --Oscar Junker, Bonsai Empire
In Training, by Stephen Voss is a beautiful coffee table volume featuring bonsai from the National Bonsai Collection in Washington, DC. The unique angles of the photos, combined with superb photography have created a permanent record of details people would never stop to view. Bark textures, dead wood details, ground covers, twigs and many more items have never been so beautifully photographed. The photographer Stephen Voss truly captured the beauty of the best bonsai in the collection, and they have been well cropped to highlight the focal point.
In Training is not a how to book about bonsai, in fact only a few photos feature the entire tree. But rather this book encourages readers look at bonsai from a new perspective and makes them stop to appreciate small details which create masterpiece bonsai through superb photography. --Wm. N. Valavanis
From the Author
Bonsai trees have been photographed for decades to be shown in coffee table books and how-to guides. In order to photograph bonsai "correctly", one must stand approximately six feet from the trees and photograph them straight on. This has led to many thousands of photos being taken that essentially have this look. It's great for showing what a tree looks like, but not so great for showing what being near that tree feels like. And that realization became my subject, my guiding path in making these photos.
I wanted to share what I found interesting and beautiful about each of the trees, their spirit and the sense of peace I felt when I was close to them. I wanted to explore the substance of the trees, the essential elements that made each one feel sacred and vital. And I wanted nothing superfluous, in these images, I sought to strip away everything until I reached the essence of the tree.
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Top Customer Reviews
I took a photo of one of the photos so that you could see the layout of the double page spread. On the far left is the explanation of the picture next to it, which is in fact, a tree in training. The next photo I posted is the bio at the end of the book, and finally the photo the author chose to end the book, after his bio.
I cannot believe that anyone would not be hit right in the gut by this perfectly beautiful book. It speaks to me of things I cannot totally understand, but I don't mind that. People can be in training, just like trees. This would mean that In Training would make a wonderful gift for any person preparing for grad school, or setting up that first office. It would be a good gift for a new mother or father who will soon be having a child to raise. Obviously, it would be a great gift for your favorite gardener!
There is a lot of space between the photos. Sometimes a whole page is white. I am totally for that, as it gives the viewer time to process what she has seen. The images are very powerful, to me. I think Voss is an outstanding photographer and that this book is extremely uplifting. Read the afterword by Michael Hagedorn if you don't understand bonsai. Here is the opening of it:
"The impermanence of the natural world. The immense seen in the infinitesimal.The feelings of durability, humility, and hope. Many have used these words to describe bonsai and they feel right and true"....[and he goes on to end his afterword with this:] "Through the democratic lens of a camera, we see the organic records of trunks and branches, the dreams of past artists lodged in wood, changed and changing over time.Beyond that, as with any art form, we bring to bonsai what we have within us."
This amazing book, In Training! The moment I opened it and viewed the pictures,it became my touchstone.
While I'm not really all that familiar with the philosophy surrounding the cultivation and nurturing of these amazing trees, I do have a special relationship and appreciation for trees of many different species. (I thank Bernd Heinrich for his The Trees in My Forest for setting my feet on this path.) I can tell you that Mr. Voss has a gift for capturing these amazing trees and his love of them shines through just as if they were people sitting for portraits.
The hardcover format is appealing and it is bound in a burlap type cloth. The pages are printed on quality paper and the images are both full color and some that are sepia toned. It's a beautiful format and one that will delight anyone with an interest in bonsai.
Beautiful book- whether you are interested in bonsai or art photography or both, I can't recommend it enough.
The color photos in the book are beautiful. Many of the photos show parts of bonsai trees. In one photo there is a branch while in another the trunk of a bonsai tree. Yet even a branch of a bonsai tree has a beauty all its own. The fact that the photographer was able to see that beauty, and show that beauty to me in this book, is a testament to his skill.
There are beautiful photos of bonsai trees with flowers in this book. These are the type of photos I normally enjoy. I have a number of coffee table books with nature scenes with flower of all different colors. Yet, this book has helped me appreciate how photos of branches or tree trunks of small bonsai trees have great beauty themselves.
The book briefly talks about the museum where the photos were taken and about the art of growing a bonsai tree. There is an index in the back of the book in Japanese and English listing the trees in the photos. The page numbers are in Japanese so it is not easy to use for those of us who do not understand Japanese but it can be figured since the index lists the trees in the order they appear in the book. As a result he first tree photographed is a Crape Myrtle and it is the first listed in the index.
Looking at these photos has a calming effect on me. The skill of the photographer comes through in this book as well as the beauty of the Bonsai tree.