Flora Therapy

Thomas Struth

Like his fellow photographers Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth is known for his monumental, cool-eyed investigations of the contemporary world—from wide views of empty, industrialized streets and crowded art museums to closeups of lush tropical foliage. Most of Struth's work—be it ponderous, abstract, gorgeous, or a fusion of each—is firmly set on the conceptual, search-for-objectivity side of things. All of which makes his new book, Thomas Struth: The Dandelion Room (D.A.P. and Schirmer/Mosel; $45), such an atypical, joyful treat. Struth was commissioned in 1991 to decorate the rooms of a new hospital in Winterthur, Switzerland. His solution—one or two flower photographs and one landscape for each sickroom, all blissfully simple and larger than life—offers patients an almost literal embrace in hopeful, restorative imagery.