THE PRIVATE LIFE OF FLOWERS
I decided to make pictures of flowers as an easy project while learning some new equipment including Photoshop. Flowers are readily available, do not require model releases, and are not tattooed in all the wrong places. Anyone can take pictures of flowers.
And that's the problem: how to make flower pictures distinctive? With this question in mind I began to pose my fragrant models. Many of the flowers saw no difficulty and lent themselves to playing many roles, from cardinal to admiral of the fleet. The lilies could not be bothered with such folderol but posed elegantly anyway - they just can't help themselves. The pitcher plant wanted to prove that mere prettiness was not necessary for a graceful pose, and the tulip wished to demonstrate that even when past one's best one can put on a good show. Likewise my "Dowager Duchess". Though prickly at first, as the only rose she condescended to pose with great dignity, wrinkles and all.
There were disagreements: the daffodils declared that colour was the only thing that mattered anyway, while the morning glory insisted on the primacy of line. And there was general discussion as to the relative merits of photographic precision over a more painterly approach. In the end there was great competition as to which pictures would be included in the website. I am left with the feeling that there is more to flowers than meets the eye, and model releases might be needed after all.
A photograph isolates a tiny part of the world in a tiny fraction of time for a longer look at a later time. Often the part of the world is a beautiful flower, or a tree, or a baby's face, recorded in particular light or weather. However, a photograph can also draw one's attention to beauty in unexpected places, unnoticed in the general run of things.
This is the rationale behind the "Fragments" series, images mostly from dumpsters or old machinery, the work of man and nature combined. Perhaps I was drawn to this theme because I have the annoying English trait of always looking for the silver lining when things look grim (something to do with English weather no doubt).
Autumn leaves in Profile. This series was initially inspired by Ellsworth Kelly's simple drawings of leaves on stems. The first image of honeysuckle, where I have accentuated the outlines and de-emphasized detail, reflects this influence. However, my models soon began to insist on expressing personality and flaunting their autumn rags with elegance and flair. They seem to be telling me that they may be tattered and fragile, and a hard frost is coming, but they can still put on a good show.