Dr Sam Vale, Programme Director of Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University, is about to publish a book on British Cherry blossom.
The Japanese tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers underneath the flowering trees, dates back to the eight century and even today it has its own cherry blossom forecast to predict when the flowers will open.
Kent also has a long association with cherries. The cultivation of the county’s famous cherry orchards under the orders of Henry VIII, along with other fruit, was the reason why the county became known as The Garden of England.
Dr Sam Vale was granted access to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent which keeps a pair of each variety of cherry available in the United Kingdom. The National Cherry Collection belonged to Kent Farm Institute at Borden near Sittingbourne, but passed into the care of MAFF (now Defra) in 1965. The collection was last re-propagated and established in its present location in spring 1996.
Now for the first time, images of all 323 UK varieties of the fruit’s white flowers have been recorded. Vale has produced the complete collection of images that catalogues all the varieties in a new book. Each book will include a unique pressed, dried cherry blossom petal.
Published in May 2019 by Gost Books.
Hardback clothbound screen printed cover
129 x 185 mm (portrait)
Printed in a limited edition of 332 copies, on 90 gsm fedrigoni parchment handmade paper
Sam Vale is an academic and internationally exhibited artist interested in the use of photography and its relationship to other media. Working with collections and archives, Vale aims to uncover narratives which might not be immediately apparent from the gathered objects, offering an alternate perspective to the collected material and the owners or curators that accrue it.
Vale is Programme Director of Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he uses his research to inform his teaching practice that examines practice-based methodologies.