German photographer Thomas Struth is among the artists generally credited with establishing photography as a major medium in fine art. The former Gerhard Richter student made the shift from paintbrush to camera in 1976, beginning a long career documenting street scenes, landscapes and plantlife. For his Prix Pictet-nominated series, Paradise, Struth traveled to Australia, Japan, China, and California, capturing intricately detailed photos of forests and jungles.
"I didn't want to portray a specific place, that specific forest," said Struth. "Rather I was trying to feel within its primeval branchings the moment of beginning that once was the world... Actually, I don't even see the images as depictions of nature. The theme may play a major part, but the undertone makes the music. It's about the experience of time as well as a certain humility in dealing with things. It's a metaphor for life and death."