Meet Cape City’s portrait plant photographer

Written by Jo Munnik, CNNCape City, South Africa

Heat, gentle morning gentle streams throughout the leafy seaside suburb of Noordhoek in Cape City, illuminating the backyard of Filipa Domingues. Crops of probably the most fascinating sizes and styles develop right here, prepared for his or her close-up.

A filmmaker and photographer, Domingues has made it her mission to doc these distinctive vegetation — the weirder, the higher, she says — sharing them with the world through her common Instagram account.

“I particularly {photograph} succulent vegetation which can be endemic or indigenous to South Africa,” she tells CNN. “(I like) the extra uncommon and weird type of vegetation, not the standard ones that you simply discover in folks’s gardens or in nurseries.”

Domingues jokingly calls herself a portrait plant photographer. She solely started accumulating vegetation three years in the past, beginning with succulents. Her assortment quickly grew and have become a focus when pals came over; quickly, Domingues discovered herself urging them to return over and “verify my vegetation.”

Photographer Filipa Domingues has amassed an unlimited assortment of vegetation. Credit score: Filipa Domingues

It was one among these pals, she says, who inspired her to begin photographing her plant assortment and posting on social media.

“Examine my vegetation”

Domingues has loads of topics to select from — South Africa is residence to over 22,000 indigenous vegetation and over 10% of the world’s flowering species, and Cape City itself is likely one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth. The Cape floristic area, positioned within the Western Cape and components of the Japanese Cape, was first named a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 2004.
It’s the smallest of the world’s six acknowledged floristic areas. Right here, 30% of the vegetation are endemic, discovered nowhere else on the earth.

Portrait plant photographer captures Cape City’s ‘extraordinary’ flora

“I solely publish (a photograph) as soon as I’ve discovered the identify of (the plant) and as soon as I’ve discovered my favourite little bit of data,” she explains.

When requested if she has a favourite plant, Domingues says it is unattainable to decide on only one. With every season, she says she discovers new vegetation so as to add to her rising checklist of favorites. However there are some that she finds extra fascinating than others.

She not too long ago posted a photograph of an Argyroderma theartii — a fantastic dwarf winter-growing succulent, bearing hanging, vibrant purple-pink flowers throughout the early winter months. This plant could be very uncommon and endemic to a single farm within the Western Cape’s northern Knersvlakte area.
The Argyroderma theartii succulent has bright purple-pink flowers during the early winter months, and is one of Domingues' favorites.

The Argyroderma theartii succulent has vibrant purple-pink flowers throughout the early winter months, and is one among Domingues’ favorites. Credit score: Filipa Domingues

Domingues says she finds this plant particularly enchanting as a result of when in bloom, it reminds her of a sea anemone. “So a lot of my succulents remind me of underwater coral,” she says, including that she usually refers to her assortment as her “coral reef.”

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Domingues’ pictures are hanging, however her course of is definitely quite simple. She says she solely requires a black fabric as her backdrop, and pure gentle. “The sunshine’s acquired to be proper, as a result of I {photograph} them in pure daylight,” she says.

As for her alternative of digicam? It could shock folks to know that Domingues takes nearly all of her pictures on her iPhone.

“I’d hope my pictures simply encourage folks,” she says. “There’s solely so many issues you may give attention to in life, however as soon as your consideration is open to one thing, it is superb — so I hope to open up folks’s consideration and minds to vegetation, particularly the South African indigenous succulents.”

Domingues takes the majority of her photographs using only a black cloth as a backdrop, natural light, and her iPhone.

Domingues takes nearly all of her pictures utilizing solely a black fabric as a backdrop, pure gentle, and her iPhone. Credit score: Filipa Domingues

Right now, she has a major international following on social media by which she will be able to invite folks from the world over to just about verify her vegetation. She says her followers from America and Europe are sometimes blown away by the otherworldly look of Cape City’s distinctive flora.

“They take a look at my pictures they usually cannot imagine that these vegetation exist,” Domingues says. “And it jogs my memory how fortunate we’re to have this all in our personal yard.”

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