Mesmerizing Aerial Photos of Tulip Fields in Full Bloom

Aerial Photo of a Tulip Field by Tom Hegen

For three to four weeks a year, the two billion tulips that Dutch tulip farmers grow annually come into bloom. Aerial photographer Tom Hegen decided to fly overhead and photograph the kaleidoscope of colors before they disappeared. The resulting photo series is part of his project about artificial, manmade landscapes, including salt ponds, coal mines, and quarries.

Behind the dazzling abstractions of the tulip fields, there is big business. Hegen reminds us that 77% of all flower bulbs traded worldwide come from the Netherlands, which results in the colorful blooms being of lesser importance than the bulbs below. “What really surprised me is that tulip heads are getting cut off when they are in full bloom,” Hegen tells My Modern Met. “Farmers mainly sell the tulip bulb instead of the actual flower. By cutting the head off, the remaining energy of the flower gets directed back to the bulb so that it will bloom better and stronger.”

Hegen captured the farmers in action, each colorful frame interrupted by machinery cutting down the blooms. It's a reminder that even the most natural products, like flowers, are manipulated to fulfill consumer demand. As the farmers aim to create the strongest, brightest bulbs, they knowingly discard the most beautiful—but less valuable—part of the plant.

Hegen's Tulip Series is just one chapter in his new photo book, Habitat, which traces the implications of landscapes manipulated by humans. Habitat is currently available to pre-order via Kickstarter.

Dutch tulip farmers grow around 2 billion tulips annually.

Tulip Field Photo by Tom HegenTulip Field Photo by Tom Hegen

Aerial photographer Tom Hegen documented the tulip fields as part of his series on landscapes manipulated by humans.

Tulip Fields Aerial Photo by Tom HegenAerial Photo of a Tulip Field by Tom HegenAerial Photo of a Tulip Field by Tom HegenTulip Fields Aerial Photo by Tom HegenAerial Photo of a Tulip Field by Tom HegenTulip Field Photo by Tom HegenTulip Fields Aerial Photo by Tom HegenTulip Fields Aerial Photo by Tom HegenTulip Fields Aerial Photo by Tom Hegen

Tom Hegen: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Behance | Kickstarter

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Tom Hegen.

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Stunning Landscape Photos of Holland When 7 Million Tulips Bloom All at Once

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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