Thomas Balaÿ photographic approach began in the United States and particularly at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden as he prepared a traveling exhibition on endangered plants. This tropical agronomy-certified photographer who traveled all over the world is at the instigation of botanical works whose purpose is to reveal the diversity and beauty of the plant world that surrounds us.
In each of his works, Thomas Balaÿ oscillates between scientific testimony, documentary and artistic research. His approach to succulents as well as his series on orchids offer in an intimate dialogue, a subtle lighting of the vegetable world on which he lingers, that of the image of a transfigured nature.
With "Succulentes - Le Design Végétal" published by Editions Ulmer, it presents 75 portraits of succulents with multiple and fleshy forms and various families. So-called "fatty" plants in the common language that we have to glimpse as "gulps of juices" and whose evolution stems from their ability to resist the dryness of deserts.
Here the choice of analogue photography, from close-up shooting to frontal framing or high on a neutral background and black, under the natural light of the north identical to that used by the greatest painters exalt every detail with delight contours, volumes (spirals, volutes, spikes ..) and textures (spikes, streaks, waxes, fluff, thorns ...) of these plants. The succulents thus arise in our eyes as in weightlessness, in a movement of offering propitious to apprehend their essences. From this face to face between the eye of the photographer and the plant there springs a gallery of portraits with humanized sonorities, interaction complicity between man and wild nature.
From this decontextualized proximity, from this process of documentalist to the detailed description born plastic engineering. The plant is revisited with the bias of a sculptural stylization, close to Surrealism. By insisting on these qualities, Thomas Balaÿ brings out the structural and architectural forms of the plant. This staging demonstrates the beauty of plant graphics, its intrinsic design to reveal its lines, its thickness to touch its material and to feel its splendor. The plant world is thus transported with Thomas Balaÿ in sober artistic forms, simple to the clarity of the lines and forms close to design creations or jewelry.
Thomas Balaÿ delivers with " Succulentes, le design Végétal", the sumptuousness and elegance of these plants created by nature and its millions years of evolution. It elevates them to the rank of a work of art capable of containing multiple interpretations. With this work, it is still the fragile beauty of the nature world that he defends. A naturalistic message, so that we all become aware of our natural heritage, of the richness of plant biodiversity, and that we do not forget our duty to admire and preserve it.