Soft and beautiful photographs of botanical gardens that look like oil paintings

In his series Botanical, Swiss photographer and designer Samuel Zeller presents a modern photographic take on classical botanical illustrations produced between the 18th century and early 20th century.

All images courtesy of Samuel Zeller

All images courtesy of Samuel Zeller

He explains: "Reality is refracted by the greenhouse’s ground glass and reminds me of the paper used in watercolour paintings. The colours are subtle and sophisticated, they mirror the tones found in this kind of illustration."

Reflecting the heritage of an architectural period and the years of botanical research, Zeller's series combines these two fascinating subjects into one.

He added: "The greenhouse in which resides the subject of this photographic’s series is a controlled environment that aims to protect exotic plants by creating better climate conditions than the local weather; it’s also a beautiful creation of metal and glass, dedicated, refined, elegant (just like the plants inside). The structure itself becomes a frame in some images. By using digital photography techniques, I wanted to pay a tribute to botanical illustrators and reproduce hand-drawn illustrations as they were done in the 18th century."

Before moving into photography Samuel studied Graphic Design & Interactive Media Design at the CFPAA in Geneva. He has also worked in various design agencies creating retail spaces, editorial design and 3D visualisations for international brands.

With his background in design, Samuel is able to bring his experience and visual aesthetic across different photography subjects, creating clean pictures, trying to find bits of beauty even in the coldest industrial facilities: "I almost always create images when going through strong emotional states. Photography is a way I found to talk about myself, rather than with language were I always had difficulties."

Prints of Botanical are available. Discover more at


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