Steven Foster, master herbalist and photographer, dies


Legendary, prolific, self-taught photographer and botany master Stephen Foster died suddenly on January 17 at his home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He was 64 years old.

For nearly half a century, Foster’s photographs have been on the covers of many books and magazines on herbs and plants.

“Stephen Foster didn’t just take pictures of the plants. He created portraits of them,” said Eric Goldman, Editor-in-Chief of Holistic Primary Care. “His photographs captured not only their forms, but their essence and mystery.”

Foster’s contributions to modern herbal culture are numerous. He was one of the first people to help spread the herb Echinacea, who wrote the first book on Echinacea.Echinacea: a natural immune enhancer(HealingArts Press, 1991), since 1917’s eclectic pharmacist and writer John Uri Lloyd’s dissertation on Echinacea. At some point in his career, he called him “Mr. Echinacea.”

“Stephen was one of the best figures in the American and international herbal community as a whole,” said Foster, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, a longtime contributor to the publication and a member of the board of directors. Mark Blumenthal says. “The author or co-author of 19 books and hundreds of articles, and a true master of herbal literature, especially eclectic medical literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a famous photographer of herbs and medicinal plants. It was also a home. An eye for the beauty of all the leaves and flowers. He was unparalleled in the world of botanicals. “

ABC has set up a tribute page on its site that includes photos, a selection of books, memories and more.

His close-up photography has given his work an unmistakable authorship and has been widespread throughout the industry for many years.

“Stephen was a great photographer. He was the first person to come to mind when he needed the best images of botanicals,” said Karen E. Todd, vice president of global brand marketing at Kyowa Hakko USA. “The beauty he captures from behind the lens lives on through his learning.”

“As an art director for the New Hope Network, Stephen Foster was my go-to man, thanks to his collection of beautiful medicated photographs in the world of microstock photography in general,” says Nancy Volkuma Clufflin. I did.

Blumenthal pointed out how important Foster’s work is to the story ABC tells through Herbal Gram’s publications, books and other magazine articles. ABC has literally published thousands of photos of Foster.

“Before ABC was founded in 1988, Stephen was an integral part of ABC. If you enjoyed beautiful and fascinating four-color photos in each issue of Herbal Gram, thank Stephen for the photos. I can.”

He started his career in 1974 at Sabbathday Lake, Maine, in the herbal division of Shaker, America’s oldest herbal business dating back to 1799... A self-taught botanist with no higher education in either botanism or photography, Foster sets it apart from both pursuits as an instant master. Shaker has an extraordinary history as a seasoned herbalist from the very beginning of American history.

“His botany knowledge and memory was mostly photographic, and he had a beautiful and eloquent way to explain and convey the wisdom of herbs,” said Lauren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance. I am. “”Many didn’t have the chance to meet him, but whenever he sees his pictures or reads his books and articles, he’s in front of Stephen Foster. ”


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