Author(s): Fabio Petroni
"In life everything except the cultivation of orchids must have a purpose," as Nero Wolfe liked to say, the witty detective specializing in solving intricate murder cases, created by American writer Rex Stout. An incorrigible gourmet, fussy and irascible, Nero Wolfe had one very great passion: a passion for orchids. Bewitching, sensual, disturbing, these plants, whose natural species number over 25,000, have forever sparked overwhelming loves. Cartier took inspiration from the exquisite blossoms of the Phalaenopsis to create a precious collection of jewels. The volcanic British stylist Vivienne Westwood mixes them extravagantly, in the living room of her home, with paintings and books. One of the most prestigious fashion houses in France, Van Cleef & Arpels, chose one, the Vanilla fragrans, for its very famous and unmistakable perfume. Illustrious personages, artists, and adventurers, dressed in the garb of enterprising plant hunters, have gone round the world in search of them, bringing them back to the West. Important entrepreneurs have become fanatic collectors of them...It is not unusual, then, for even a master photographer like Fabio Petroni to be so deeply struck: he decided to portray them in still-lifes, to present us with close-ups, macros, and details of great charm and appeal.
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 biologist and microbiologist with a passion for plants. For more than 20 years, she has worked with various Italian publishers, including Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Cairo Editore, Periodici San Paolo, and Pentagono Editrice. For "Gardenia," Italy's most important monthly magazine on flowers, plants, and gardens, she oversaw the production of several monographs, including one dedicated to orchids, and also 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 the technical introduction to the book "Giardini in vaso" (A. Mondadori). Anna Maria lives in Milan.