The elegantly simple floral portraits of photographer and backyard botanist Ron van Dongen suggest an entire life cycle, a landscape in and of itself that the artist says “reflects the struggles and confusions of everyday life.” Born in Venezuela and raised in Holland, van Dongen at first chose to study biology, but a passion for personal expression drew him to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco to study photography. The confluence of those two loves — art and science — represents a long fascination with how nature functions and how nature affects (and reflects) the human condition. Van Dongen’s meticulous portraits begin as a labor of love in his garden, where he cultivates exotic flowers from seed to bloom and then documents them in classic portraiture fashion. Over the years, this approach has been richly rewarded, and van Dongen’s photographs can be found in major collections around the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Portland Art Museum, and the Sir Elton John Photography Collection. For more information, please visit his website.