‘I was always drawn to the flowers and plants that were past their best and dying…'
Rachel Warne is an award-winning botanical photographer who lives and works in London, having graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Photography. Growing up on the family flower farm in the heart of the Fens, a love of botany and an appreciation of the natural world were instilled in Rachel from an early age and continue to influence her work to this day.
In 2010, Warne’s Faded Glory series, described as ‘evoking a nostalgia for gardens that are long past their heyday, but still have a beauty in them’, made her ‘Portfolio Winner’ of the International Garden Photographer of the Year. Exhibited at the Garden Museum in 2015, this series is a romantic exploration of long-forgotten gardens, echoing the unkempt charm of secret magical gardens from childhood imaginings.
The theme of decay is prevalent throughout Warne’s personal work, marking a beautiful contrast to the immaculate gardens she shoots for her commercial portfolio. Through depictions of local seasonal plants in stages of deterioration, Autumn Study also explores the beauty of decay and the afterlife of plants and gardens. This beautiful series of images, saturated in life and colour and presented on a white background to reference the polished aesthetic of high fashion photography, won Warne a Special Award at the International Garden Photographer of the Year Awards in 2009 for the best Garden Photographer’s Association Portfolio. Autumn Study has since been exhibited at The Cornershop Gallery, Clerkenwell, in Feburary 2016.
Warne’s commercial work is widely published, and is regularly featured in Gardens Illustrated (with work selected for March 2016’s cover), The English Garden, House and Garden and Country Living. She has also made appearances on the Alan Titchmarsh Show and BBC’s Gardeners’ World. In addition, Warne is regularly commissioned to photograph for The Eden Project, Dorling Kindersley, and a range of major garden designers and writers.
Her book, ‘A Year in the Life of Beth Chatto’s Gardens’, received acclaim when published in 2011, with The Guardian describing it as ‘a sumptuous photographic guide’, and Outdoor Photography commenting that ‘…it will make you want to explore the world at a slower pace, appreciating colours and playful light.’