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Lynn Karlin’s ‘Raw Art’

It was a purple cauliflower at the Belfast farmers’ market in Maine that inspired Lynn Karlin, a longtime photographer and former market gardener, to focus her artistic eye on vegetables.

“It was beautiful because it was encased in its leaves,” said Ms. Karlin, 63, who started her career 40 years ago as the first female staff photographer for Women’s Wear Daily and then left New York City a decade later for Maine, where she took up farming with her then-husband, Stanley Joseph (they wrote “Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life” together).

That morning in 2008, when she first became fascinated with the vegetable’s simple elegance and personality, she said, “I put it on an old white pedestal in an east-facing window of my studio.” There, she pored over it for hours, turning it this way and that, she said, “to take it down to its simplest form, to find the beautiful line, the side that should be photographed.”

Having applied the same art to fashion, gardens and interiors for magazines like HG and Garden Design, Ms. Karlin turned to curling garlic scapes, fragile squash blossoms, a single spinach leaf vibrating with life, each set on a timeworn stand made of wood, metal or stone that suited its personality.

Now 25 of her best works may be seen in “Raw Art: The Pedestal Series,” an exhibition that opens Saturday and runs through June 16, at the Gallery on the Green, in Pawling, N.Y. (Information: 845-855-5642 or

A similar show, “Taking a Stand: Vegetable Portraits,” will be on display at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, in Belfast, from Sept. 28 to Nov. 14. (Information: 207-338-6575 or

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