joSon: Intimate Portraits of Nature


Award-winning photographer joSon was born in the Philippines, but at the age of 10, he was sent to Vietnam in preparation for becoming a monk. At the Buddhist temple, where he remained until the age of 18, joSon spent his time drawing in sketchbooks and teaching art to the younger resident monks. Even though joSon eventually left the temple, he never left behind the principles of monkhood. His work, whether it’s a landscape, a portrait of a child, or an image of a flower, reveals joSon’s belief that beauty is best found in the simplest of forms.

Once he moved to the United States, joSon began taking classes in photography, finding that it allowed him to capture what he was unable to put into words. He later moved to San Francisco, where joSon received his B.A. and then his M.A. in photography at the Academy of Art University.

His book, joSon: Intimate Portraits of Nature, published by Graphis in June 2013, began as a class assignment. It features more than 125 photographs of 100 different flower species, including California poppy, magnolia, angel’s trumpet, dragon fruit, puya, pitcher plant, and the eye-catching banana flower. Every petal offers vivid colors and detailed textures. With the images contrasted against a black or white background, the reader’s attention is always focused on the flower.

In an interview with Photoshop, joSon explained his inspiration for the book.

“My path in life is to portray ordinary things we see every day—beaches, water, grass, flowers, and so on—into something extraordinary, scrumptious, tactile, and memorable. Showing others how gorgeous and magical the seemingly ordinary, everyday things in the world are—that’s the journey the monks saw for me.”

joSon: Intimate Portraits of Nature is both a botanical reference guide and a timeless visual feast for discovering the wonders of nature. It’s an absolute necessity for any collector of fine floral photography. To purchase the book, click here.

Author: Kayla Harris for Graphis

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