Thomas Balaÿ was born in France in 1977. At 16, he fell in love at first sight with tropical flowers after seeing them in a documentary on the rainforest. In 1996 he decided to leave France to discover in person the Caribbean Islands’ flora while studying tropical agronomy in Guadeloupe. In 2001 he moved to the United States where he started to photograph the subject of his passion. He collaborated with many botanical institutions to create photographic exhibits particularly with the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida where he took pictures of the rare and endangered plants and developed a traveling exhibit entitled “What if Only Photographs Remain.” Three years later he went back to France to perfect his photographic techniques at “l’école de l’image des Gobelins” in Paris and assisted several photographers.
In 2012 Thomas Balaÿ began two series on orchids and on succulent plants that he photographed during several years in private and public collections. The purpose of this work was to reveal the fragility of the vegetal world; photographed in macro and on a black background, the plants are revisited in a sculptural stylization close to surrealism showing us the ingenuity and creativity of the nature. Two books, “Orchidées” and “Succulentes, le design végétal” were published respectively in 2015 and 2017 by Ulmer edition. Thomas Balaÿ gives us the sumptuousness, the elegance of these plants created by nature and its millions of years of evolution. He elevates them to the rank of a work of art capable of containing multiple interpretations. With these images, it’s the fragile beauty of the plant world that he defends. A naturalistic message, so that we all become aware of our natural heritage, the richness of plant biodiversity. His photographs have been exhibited in several institution such as the Art Center of the Château de Vascoeuil, the Botanical Garden of Nancy and the Contemporary Art Center of Palazzo Tagliaferro in Italy.