The Sunday Preview: Great photographers say it with flowers

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The Independent Culture
AN EXHIBITION called Flora Photographica sounds like something for botanists' eyes only. The fact that it's at the Serpentine is a clue that it has a wider appeal. As one of the curators, William A Ewing, says: 'It is a rare photographer whose eye has not been drawn to a flower.' The show puts together a dream team - Fox Talbot, Edward Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Man Ray, Andre Kertesz - and it blooms with invention. There's Cecil Beaton highlighting the exoticism of Dietrich with a strategic orchid, Bert Stern getting Marilyn to clasp a rose to each breast, Robert Mapplethorpe bringing out the sexuality of the lily, and John Stezaker adding a touch of gentle surrealism (above, Untitled). Serpentine, London W2 (071-402 6075), Tues to 20 Sept; Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 3 Oct to 22 Nov; City Art Galleries, Manchester, 28 Nov to 17 Jan; Mead Gallery, Coventry, 23 Jan to 6 March.

(Photograph omitted)