Arts

Photographer Brendan George Ko unlocks the surreal beauty of flora in his hometowns

Photographer Brendan George Ko has long been infatuated with the natural world. If you take some time wade through his past works, you will immediately notice recurring motifs of plants, flowers, leaves, desolate prairies, wooded fields and bodies of water.

His latest series, however, takes a closer look at the former, unlocking the strange beauty of the foliage that inhabits his two hometowns: Toronto in Canada and Wailuku in Hawaii.

Photographer Brendan George Ko unlocks the surreal beauty of flora in his hometowns in Canada and Hawaii in new series, A Stranger In Two Worlds. See some of his snaps below.

“My interest in plants started in 2013 when I was developing my thesis exhibition, Aloha,” Brenda said in a recent interview with It’s Nice That. “I was studying ecology of Hawai’i and using plants as a metaphor to human adaptation in the archipelago.

Recently I returned to photographing ubiquitous plants in both the places I live in. When I see the image of these plants I see memory, I see life, and I long for the plant that is so far away.”

The style Ko developed during the creation of Aloha has been fully-realised in his new series, which has the title, A Stranger In Two Worlds. Hazy, surreal and bursting with intriguing hues, the photographs are both alien and familar, mirroring the duality of Ko’s own existence.

“I grew up all over the place since I was a child,” Brendan told It’s Nice That. “I learned to adapt to new places and cultures and through this perspective, my work as visual storyteller came to be… I lead two very different lives in both places and over the years I have been witnessing myself become a stranger in both worlds. The part of me from the city feels like a stranger in the rural setting I have in Maui and vice versa.”

As a way of explanation of the series on his website, Ko simply offered a poem:

And when we fall,
Become statues, solid as stone.
To live through the ages.
Life may change but our figures suspend.
Tirelessly holding.

If we dance, let it be an echo.
If we speak, let it be the word.
For moments passed,
And moments soon.
We shall never tire.

See some of the shots from the series below, and stay up to date with it on his Instagram.