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Root and Branch

The Japanese art of bonsai, or growing miniature potted trees, requires such devotion that the plants are treated almost like religious artifacts, treasured and rarely photographed. So it was extraordinary when Jonathan Singer was invited to photograph the premier bonsai collections in Japan and the United States last year—an invitation gained partly on the strength of Botanica Magnifica, Singer’s 2009 book featuring close-up photographs of flowers. “Your work will make my work look larger than life,” bonsai master Masahiko Kimura told him. Now Singer, a former podiatrist from Bayonne, New Jersey, has given the Natural History Museum an oversized folio showcasing five bonsai specimens, a sampling from his new work, Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature. Singer has published the book, which features more than 300 of his photographs, to raise funds for tsunami relief in Japan.

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