These artists make huge GROWING grass portraits, showcasing nature’s transitory beauty | Artists | Photosynthesis | grass installations

Look closer, these are not grass fields, but breathtaking portraits made out of living foliage!

How many times have we slowed down to admire the lush, green grass growing by the roadside? British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, discovered the wondrous possibilities and transitory beauty of living grass, and used it to create amazing portraits.

Youtube Screenshot | Great Big Story

For more than a decade, the pair employed the controlled photosynthetic abilities of grass, to turn grass patches into stunning, huge scale, living grass portraits.

Youtube Screenshot | Great Big Story

With years of study and observation, these artists understood the science behind photosynthesis, and developed an artistic idea to create these pictures. Photosynthesis utilizes light to generate glucose, whereas photography employs light to produce image. Keeping in mind this natural process, the artists cast a negative image of a photograph on a wall-mounted patch of living grass canvas in a dark room, using a digital projector.

Credit: Facebook | Artlog

The controlled light exposures the negative image on the living grass patch yielding different grass pigmentations. The pigmentation gets greener when the grass is covered with more light, and more yellowish when it is not, resulting in a verdant image of the original photo. Using this method, portraits out of living foliage are amazingly produced!

Credit: Facebook | Arts & Pics

“Where the strongest light hits the grass it produces more of the chlorophyll, more of the green pigment, where there’s less light, it’s less green, and where there’s no light, it grows, but it’s etiolated and yellow, so you get the equivalent of a black and white photograph, but in tones of green and yellow,” Dan Harvey told Great Big Story.

The impressive huge-scale grass installation usually lasts till the grass grows, which takes several months to years.

Credit: Facebook | The Royal Art Group

These magnificent grass installations have received acclamations in the “RSA Art For Architecture Awards,” the “Wellcome Sci-Art,” the “NESTA Pioneering Award,” and “L’Oreal Art and Science of Color Grand Prize.”

Their astonishing ephemeral living artworks include portraits of tennis players at the 2008 Wimbledon Tennis Championships, to massive living portraits of the office workers at the Domaine de Chamarande in France.

Credit: Facebook | Artlog

“When you look at the pieces they are very ghostly,” Ackroyd told

“There is a real sense of presence, you really feel like that portrait is present and alive. And I think that is why people are bewitched by the pieces. I think we are very resistant to reducing it to a set of formulas because that would make it about how we do it, and really it’s about why we do it that interest us more.”

Watch their story:

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