The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits: Levon Biss’s quest to capture nature’s most hidden details

Coco de Mer

Levon Biss is a photographer who has spent countless hours looking at seeds in order to create this stunning series of macro photos. The photographer was able to capture the intricacies and details that are concealed within their shells, by using his photography skills. This is a photographer with a passion for seeds and capturing the beauty they hold inside.

The photographs, which span from the Ko Phuang's riotous clusters to threatened rarities such as the Coco de Mer, reveal the inner nuances that are otherwise hidden within the shells of specimens. The majority of the pictures use texture and subtle color variations to frame a cracked or sliced pod in a way that focuses on their distinct aspects.

The seed and fruit collection is enormous, with around 100 individual specimens per species. Biss spent hundreds of thousands of hours sifting through hundreds of thousands to choose the final 117 in his new book The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits. The resulting selection, which was culled on the basis of attractiveness, includes all aspects of seed dispersal as well as morphology, location, and history. “I made an effort to include all procedures in the overall edit so that it becomes a teaching tool rather than simply pretty pictures,” Biss explains to Colossal.

"Each specimen is contained within a small box, and sometimes, you would find a handwritten note on a scrap of paper where the botanist provided a visual description of the surroundings where the specimen was found. Some of these specimens are over 100 years old, and reading these very personal notes made me wonder what the botanist had to go through to find that specimen. What were their traveling conditions like? What did they have to endure to bring the specimen back to Edinburgh? Reading these notes gave me a connection with the botanist and was certainly one of my personal highlights of the project."

Biss explains the research process.

The beautiful, brightly colored seeds and fruits on view at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in Kew through October 31 are by American artist Biss (christened Joe). The Hidden Beauty of Seeds & Fruits, published by Abrams, is now available. Prints from the series may be found on the photographer's website. Keep up with his biological photographs on Instagram.

Candlestick Banksia
Left: Rosary Pea. Right: Sandplain Woody Pear
Field Manioc
Left: Firewood Banksia. Right: Dutchman’s Pipe
Ko Phuang