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About Steven Foster

Trustee-Steven Foster A respected name in things herbal with over 32 years of experience, Steven Foster is an author, photographer and consultant specializing in medicinal and aromatic plants. He is the author of 15 books and serves on the editorial boards of several magazines including Herbs for Health and HerbalGram. Foster is President of Steven Foster Group, Inc. in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


Biographical Sketch

In 1974 at age 17, Steven Foster began his career at the Sabbathday Lake, Maine Shaker Community Herb Department - America's oldest herb business, dating to 1799. There he established three acres of production gardens and managed 1700 acres for the commercial harvest of botanicals.

For thirty-two years, Steven Foster has served as a medicinal and aromatic plant specialist, writer, lecturer and photographer as well as an international consultant to growers, researchers and others in the medicinal and aromatic industries. Foster has over 800 photo-illustrated articles in popular, trade and scientific journals. He serves as Associate Editor for HerbalGram and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants.

Describing her relationship with Steven Foster, Harvard University botanist Dr. Shiu Ying Hu (emerita) wrote, "Our conversation reminded me of something that Confucius said two thousand years ago: 'In any company of three persons, there must be one who can be my teacher'. . . I found in Steven Foster a teacher who could share a profound knowledge of economic botany, particularly in the cultivation and uses of herbs."

Steven Foster has pursued photographic goals since 1976. His first photographs appeared in a book on Shaker furniture in 1977. While living at the Sabbathday Lake, Maine Shaker Community, he also served as liaison to visiting photographers on assignment for numerous American and European magazines and newspapers. Today, as a specialist in medicinal and aromatic plants, his stock photo files number over 120,000 images in a highly specialized stock niche.

Steven Foster photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, including: American Gardener, American Horticulturist, Better Nutrition, Consumer Reports, Country Life, Country Living's Healthy Living, Delicious, East West Journal, First for Women, Food Distribution Magazine, Glamour, Harrowsmith, Health Foods Business, Healthy Remedies, HerbalGram, Herbs for Health, Joy of Herbs, Let's Live, Longevity, Martha Stewart Living, McCall's, Mother Jones, National Geographic News Services, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Natural Health, Natural Pharmacy, Nursery Manager, Pharmacy Times, Popular Science, Prevention, Retail Pharmacy News, Seed World, The Herb Companion, The Herb Magazine, The Sun, Utne Reader, Vegetarian Times, Well-Being, Whole Foods, World Health, and Your Health, as well as on several television broadcasts including The Today Show and PBS. In addition, Steven Foster photographs have appeared in books published by Acres USA, Botanica Press, Camden House Publishing, Dorling Kindersely, Drake Publishers, E.P. Sutton, Forest History Society, Gibbs Smith Publisher, Houghton Mifflin Co., Interweave Press, John Wiley & Sons, The National Geographic Society, Publications International, Reader's Digest Association, Time-Life Books, Weldon Russel Pty Ltd., Woodbridge Press, and many others

Artist's Statement

My artistic goal as a photographer specializing in medicinal and aromatic plants, is to capture the spirit and botanical beauty-in-form using natural ambient light. As a medicinal plant specialist and photographer, my work takes me around the world. Photo equipment is ever present. In my botanical photography, color, form and design offer themselves to the observant eye at the right time of day, in shade, in rain, or with clouds hiding harsh sunlight. These are the situations I strive to work in, which give me the best color saturation, the richest light, and the greatest challenge in exposure length, depth-of-field, and waiting for that still moment when a breath of air does not move the subject and offers up the detail values that I seek. I formerly worked with 35 mm color positive film and now have shifted to a digital workflow. I strive to know the plants that I photograph: their names, botany, history, and human connection (use). I feel this helps to give me a special relationship to the plant as it reveals its beauty.

Books by Steven Foster

A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs
by Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs
Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Eastern and Central North America
by Steven Foster and James A. Duke
Houghton Mifflin, Co. 2000

Tyler's Honest Herbal-A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies
by Steven Foster and Varro Tyler, PhD
Haworth Press, 1999
101 Medicinal Herbs-Their History, Use, Recommended Dosages and Cautions
by Steven Foster. Foreword by Mark Blumenthal
Interweave Press, 1998

Herbs for Your Health-A Handy Guide for Knowing and Using 50 Common Herbs
by and Photography by Steven Foster
Interweave Press, 1996
Forest Pharmacy-Medicinal Plants in American Forests
by Steven Foster
Forest History Society, 1995

A Field Guide to Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants of North America
by Steven Foster and Roger Caras
Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1994
Herbal Emissaries-Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West
by Steven Foster and Yue Chongxi
Healing Arts Press, 1992
Echinacea-Nature's Immune Enhancer
by Steven Foster, Illustrated by Judith Ann Griffith
Healing Arts Press, 1991

Herbal Renaissance-Growing, Using and Understanding Herbs in the Modern World
by Steven Foster, Illustrated and designed by D.D. Dowden.
Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1993

Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, & Cosmetics
by Albert Y. Leung and Steven Foster
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1996