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Artists Manipulate the Way Grass Grows to Create Living Photos

Most people don’t pay any attention to grass and the way it grows, but British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have always been fascinated by it and have found an ingenious way to incorporate it into their art. By manipulating the way grass grows, they are able to literally print detailed photographs onto a living wall of grass that develops according to how much light it receives.

The two artists start by covering a large canvas with water paste and rubbing germinated seeds all over it. They then cover the windows of their studio turning into a dark room, and making sure that the only light that reaches the canvas is projected through a slide of a negative photograph. They then let photosynthesis run its course, and in a few weeks time the grass-covered canvas grows into a living print of the photograph. The amount of light shining through different parts of the negative determines which parts of the canvas turn out a vibrant green, and which remain yellow and undeveloped, making the details of the image clearly visible from a distance.

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Photo-Realistic Living Grass Images by Ackroyd and Harvey

Most artists prefer to paint or draw their artistic portraits, but Surrey-based English artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey grow theirs from living grass.

We’ve featured some pretty amazing art here, on Oddity Central, but this probably takes the cake. English duo Ackroyd & Harvey have managed to harness the power of photosynthesis to fix photographic images onto the blades of growing grass. They expose plots of seeding grass to a 400-W projector bulb passing through a negative for prolonged periods of time,  and the varying densities of the negative’s lighter and darker areas produce a full range of midtones by controlling the light levels in each area. The light produces green, or darker tones, while lack of light produces lighter (yellow) tones. Within only a couple of weeks, you can see the green portraits literally emerging from the ground, but wait too long and they will simply fade away, just like old photos.

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