Author(s): Anna Maria Botticelli
A compelling journey through the world of bonsai, spurred on by the same magical lightness of a tiny bird flying through their branches. Thanks to Fabio Petroni's vivid images, the readers will feel as if they are visiting a spectacular garden full of miniature plants, moving among them and observing their surprising details in close-up, with the astonished gaze of Alice newly arrived in Wonderland. The photographer Fabio Petroni and the author Anna Maria Botticelli, in partnership with Gruppo Crespi Bonsai from Parabiago (Milan), chose to select thirty particularly significant examples, and to illustrate for each of them the fantastic and unpredictable changes in appearance they go through with the changing of the seasons. Thanks to the purity and clarity of the photographs, details emerge that could otherwise easily escape the human eye: the grace of their outlines, the strength of the buds as they prepare to open, the mysterious design of the bark, the power of the roots, the delicacy of the flowers and the perfection of the leaves.
Bonsai trees make decidedly extraordinary subject matter: they are potted plants (from which their name derives), usually trees, which, thanks to very special training techniques, retain the exact shape of their original species, in a size that makes them easy to view in the round, like miniature plant beings. For the compilation of this volume, Gruppo Crespi Bonsai exclusively offered the photographer and author the opportunity to work where hundreds of extremely rare examples are grown. Some of them are kept in the open air, others in climate-controlled environments in a special museum, the Crespi Bonsai Museum. This institution is famous throughout the world, not just in Italy or in Europe, because it is home to the largest and most complete collection of bonsai trees outside Japan.
Photographer Fabio Petroni specializes in portraits and still lifes. Over the years he has photographed leading Italian celebrities, and he now works with top advertising agencies where he handles the publications of some important Italian brands. His books with White Star include "Horses: Master Portraits," "Mutt's Life!," "Cocktails," and "Supercats!" He lives and works in Milan. Anna Maria Botticelli is a microbiologist who has worked with various Italian publishers for more than 20 years. For "Gardenia," Italy's most important monthly magazine on flowers, plants, and gardens, she oversaw the production of several monographs, and published "Ritratti di Orchidee" (Idealibri). Together with herbalist and pharmacist Clementina Cagnola, she wrote "La salute foglia per foglia" (A. Mondadori) and in collaboration with the IBC (International Flower Bulb Centre), she edited "Giardini in vaso" (A. Mondadori). Anna Maria lives in Milan. . Luigi Crespi was the first Italian to design Japanese gardens, using materials imported from Japan, and founded Crespi Bonsai, the Crespi Bonsai Museum, and the Bonsai University. He has written numerous books on bonsai, and was an international consultant to the World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF). In 2008 he received the European Suiseki Association (ESA) Recognition and the WBFF Recognition awards for his commitment to promoting bonsai. He is an honorary member of Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai and received the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays honor from the Japanese government.