Artist Lilian Wildeboer: Where the Wild Orchids Grow

Written by Anne Silver


“It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.”

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses


In between it all, between the one great mystery the other, there is art, that savagely beautiful landscape of the soul.  Artists create new worlds for us to explore. They bring us to the edges of places that exist somewhere in the space between memories and dreams, new lands where we escape this hard-edged world and lose ourselves for a while.   They possess the rare ability to make us suspend our grip on reality.  They speak to us of the possibility of all things.  For a few moments, we recall the sense of wonder that accompanied us throughout childhood, we feel a lightness of spirit, and allow our selves to drift off, carried away with the flutter of fairy wings.  

In her series “Where the Wild Orchids Grow,” Dutch artist Lilian Wildeboer has created a world beyond the boundaries of imagination.  Lilian is one who often pushes the limits of what is possible in photography, leaving her viewers to ask themselves in a state of amazement, “How did she do that!?”   Some things are better left unexplained. I prefer to let the mystery of Lilian’s genius remain hidden among the shadows, carefully concealed outside of the frame of her beloved Polaroid cameras.  

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.” 
― Mary OliverHouse of Light



“That night, I fell into a deep, travel-weary sleep, lulled by the familiar sound of the waterfall beyond the window. I dreamed of the beck fairies, a blur of lavender and rose-pink and buttercup-yellow light, flitting across the glittering stream, beckoning me to follow them toward the woodland cottage. There, the little girl with flame-red hair picked daisies in the garden, threading them together to make a garland for her hair. She picked a posy of wildflowers- harebell, bindweed, campion, and bladderwort- and gave them to me.” 
― Hazel GaynorThe Cottingley Secret


Lilian Wildeboer is a Dutch photographer who lives near Amsterdam, Netherlands.  She has been a devotée of instant film since 2010 when she was captured by its magic.  Using a variety of instant cameras and films, as well as an arsenal of traditional art materials, Lilian creates images that are uniquely her own.  She is never afraid to experiment or to fail, and her failures are often repurposed into something else.  Lilian's creativity, curiosity, and resilience inspire us to embrace challenges, to re-examine how we look at things, and to see "failures" as invitations to explore other ways of making images.

Lilian tells us that she has always had a love of botany and has enjoyed taking macro images of the wild orchids that she searches out in the woods and fields close to her home.  The series "Where the Wild Orchids Grow" evolved from her love for these rare and elusive flowers and her penchant for creating beauty.  

You can view more of Lilian Wildeboer's photography on Flickr and on Instagram.  




All photos in this article are the exclusive property of ©Lilian Wildeboer, 2018, and cannot be used or reproduced in any fashion without the written permission of the author.  


©PRYME Editions, 2018.