Kate Friend’s Botanical Portraits

Kate Friend is a British photographer best known for her still life work. Her latest project, Botanical Portraits, As Chosen By…,  is a series of still-life images photographed in the homes, studios and gardens of notable creatives and public figures. “I approached a bunch of people I wanted to meet and asked them to choose a flower for me to photograph”, she says. “I shot their flower on location, erecting a temporary studio each time.”

Kate says this is a series “about place, about people, and about the way we interpret and adopt plants.”  Kate asked each subject if they had a particular flower or plant they liked. “They didn’t have to tell me why, although often they did.” Sometimes a plant reminded the subject of someone or a particular time and place. Sometimes it was an evocative colour or smell. Sometimes a pleasing form or representation of the cycles of life. From Isabella Tree’s ragwort to Cosey Fanni Tutti’s euphorbia, the flowers people chose spoke of them.

Botanical Portraits is showing at the Garden Museum in London from June 11 – August 1 2021.

Dan Pearson, Dierama, Somerset

I would not want to be without Dierama pulcherrimum, since first planting it in my Peckham garden 25 years ago. In early June they mark the tipping point into summer perfectly. Spearing upward with the lengthening days the arching stems hold the pink flowers in suspense, and move hypnotically in the slightest breeze like shoals of fish, and fully deserving of their common name, Angel’s Fishing Rods.


Cosey Fanni Tutti, Euphorbia, North Norfolk

I have about four varieties of Euphorbia in my garden. They’re tough, self-seeding and don’t need a lot of attention. But what I love most about them is that they look ‘alien’ amongst everything else, and are so incredibly majestic when they bloom. I always think of each flower as lots of tiny cups with ‘ladybirds’ inside. 


Juergen Teller, Strawberry, Latimer Road, London

Margaret Howell, Hydrangea, East Suffolk

I’m attracted to the fading blooms of Hydrangeas. Their vivid pink and blue flowers become papery and pale into a subtle shade of sage green. No longer in need of water, they stand in a delicate antique drinking glass.


Vanessa Bell, Red Hot Poker, Charleston

Images from Botanical Portraits, As Chosen By… series are for sale in limited editions of 20. Check out Kate’s website for more information. WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM