Yoko Shimizu


The project combines photosynthesis and photography to print high-resolution images on plant leaves using the plant’s own organic chemistry as the photosensitive agent. Negative films with artistic images are attached to plant leaves and exposed to LED grow-lights, allowing the plant’s chloroplasts to create starch in the negative space of the graphic patterns. The leaves are then treated with Iodine to render visible the images created by the chloroplasts. The work harnesses the power of photosynthesis, one of the most important chemical reactions in the history of our planet, as a photographic instrument, revealing nature as a creative collaborator.

Materials: Plants, seeds, film, chemical solution, laboratory equipment, LED lights (sunlight)
Year: 2015 – present

Exhibitions: BioBAT Art Space (2022-2023), Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (2020-2021), Science Gallery Bengaluru (2020), NARS Foundation (2019), Steirischer Herbst Festival (2017), Ars Electronica Festival (2016), LAD GALLERY (2015)

Image Credit: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, BioBAT Art Space, Yoko Shimizu