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Two yellow poppies in smoky glass jug, on mustard cover of 'Portraits by Kate Friend, As Chosen By...', by Ridinghouse.

Portraits by Kate Friend

As Chosen By...

By (author) Olivia Laing
By (author) Christopher Woodward


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  • Lavishly illustrated throughout, including many behind-the-scenes images taken by Friend throughout her process
Full Description

As Chosen By… is a photographic series by Kate Friend shot exclusively on medium format film. In these portraits, her ‘sitters’ are flowers or plants, each one selected by a recognisable public figure or creative who is then recast through their botanical alter ego. Friend’s approach to the making of this series is a rigorous one: a single flower and vessel, chosen by an individual, is shot in natural light at their home, studio or garden. Each photograph is as much a portrait of a place as it is a portrait of a person and a flower. The coloured background for each image is selected by Friend, with the choice driven both by the aesthetic of the chosen flower and by a deeper intuitive sense of her sitter’s character. Although the methodology is concise and consistent, the resulting variety of images is testament to the array of unique personalities included in the project. Lavishly illustrated throughout, including many behind-the-scenes images taken by Friend throughout her process, the book features an introduction by writer Olivia Laing and an in-depth essay by Garden Museum Director Christopher Woodward.

Sitters include: Anjelica Huston, Sir Paul Smith, Kulapat Yantrasast, Piet Oudolf, Luciano Giubbilei, Ai Weiwei, Claudia Schiffer, Tom Stuart-Smith, Yinka Ilori, Simone Rocha, Tania Compton, Georgie Hopton, Olivia Laing, Sue Stuart-Smith, Jamie Compton, Fernando Caruncho, Amanda Feilding, Ron Finley, Maggi Hambling, Polly Nicholson, Olivia Harrison, Dan Pearson, Penny Rimbaud, Margot Henderson, Duncan Grant, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Bethan Wood, Isabella Tree, Juergen Teller, Charlie McCormick, Molly Goddard, Jeremy Lee, Margaret Howell, Alys Fowler, John Pawson, Amanda Harlech.

About the Author

Olivia Laing is a widely acclaimed writer and critic. She is the author of six books, including The Lonely City and Everybody. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2018 was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction. Her books have been translated into 19 languages and her first novel, Crudo, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She has written catalogue essays on a variety of contemporary artists, including Andy Warhol, Agnes Martin, Derek Jarman and Wolfgang Tillmans. Her collected essays on art, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency, were published in 2020. Her new book, The Garden against Time, is about gardens and paradise and will be published in 2024. 

Christopher Woodward is Director of the Garden Museum in London, which has a collection and exhibition programme dedicated to the relationship between art and the garden. He was previously Director of the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, and a curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and is a former trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Look Inside
28th Jul 2023
World excluding USA & Canada
270 mm x 233 mm
222 Pages
150 color
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