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As children, we’re told to blow away dandelion feathers, or seeds, and make a wish. Vegetal artist Duy Anh Nhan Duc calls these silky strands “egrets,” like the snow-white bird; for Dandelion, he teamed up with Paris-based photographer Isabelle Chapuis to transform two women into dandelion-human hybrids, each adorned with egrets plucked one by one from the head of the flower.

Chapuis has long felt drawn towards themes of metamorphosis and transmogrification; she carries a special affinity for the symbol of the chrysalis, the delicate casing that shrouds a caterpillar as it becomes a butterfly. In Duy Anh Nhan Duc, who spent months training himself to separate and tame the diaphanous components of the flowering plant, she found a way to give shape to this obsession. As the photographer puts it, she “fell in love” with the dandelion.

To their duo of models, the vegetal artist and photographer applied with pliers the egrets of flowers that had been collected by the former by hand. The fragile seeds were handled only with great care and patience, lest they be damaged or float away from their grasp. What they loved about their material—its whimsy and wildness—was also what made it difficult to realize.

Chapuis and Duy Anh Nhan Duc chose not to digitally manipulate their imagery in order to stay true to the natural and undomesticated nature of the plant. Dissecting the flowers became a like a ritual, a meditative process that bore more fruit than any doctoring post-production could.

Once harnessed, the filmy dandelion threads became like armor, their frailty fading into fortitude. Bedecked only in these floral cobwebs, the women emerge as guardians of a feral, organic realm. Ultimately, says Duy Anh Nhan Duc, they hope to “honor the vegetable kingdom.”

Dandelion was created for Raise Magazine, Issue 16.

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All images © Isabelle Chapuis

via iGNANT

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