Sunday, June 3, 2018

Honoring Flowers = Becoming Mindful

Have you ever read a new perspective on an art form, to be precise your art form, that keeps you thinking about it days afterward? An idea that makes you look with fresh eyes at your long sought after passion?  

I've photographed over 100 floral still life portraits.  Most of them cut flowers in a beautiful vase placed in dramatic lighting with long shadows. All of them I love, the subject, the process and the final image. However, I keep thinking about this conversation between an art instructor (Julius Weisz) and an art student (Cymbeline) in Europe, circa 1910 in the novel, "Eight Girls Taking Pictures" by Whitney Otto.
"What do you think about photographing flowers?" she asked.
"It depends if you're talking about living flowers or cut flowers."
She was about to ask him about the difference when he said, "One is memento mori, so to speak. Its life is ended, its appearance in rapid decline. As a photographer you have a completely different set of problems to solve when you photograph cut flowers."
"Like this picture with the reflection of the water and the table and wall? she asked. They were looking at de Meyer's hydrangea blossoms.
"Sure, okay. Let's take this picture. There is the problem of the light bouncing on the reflection of the water, the glass the tabletop, and the wall. But any picture could deal with the problem of light. The problem with this picture is greater than that of reflective surfaces--it's one of death. You invite a profound theme into your work when you choose cut flowers. You are talking about mortality and time moving forward. You are saying that everything, everything we see and experience and love happens uniquely and happens only once. When you take a picture of a flower in a glass you are, paradoxically, capturing evanescence. You are also showing the indifference of Nature. There is no mourning in a flower photograph, only a shrugging of the shoulders."
"I think it's beautiful."

Now I am being more mindful of what I'm photographing and how many flowers are dying for my photo still life portraits. I think it's time for something new.

Becoming Mindful, #0712, June 2018 

How about if I literally frame the flowers to hold them sacred and do them no harm?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Same Picture, Different Frames

“I am impressed with what happens when someone stays in the same place and you took the same picture over and over and it would be different, every single frame.” 
                                                                                Annie Leibovitz 

I personally love this challenge to have a subject that is photographed over several days and be challenged to fall in love with it anew each time.

I think it is time to create a new series.

The weather report predicts 12 - 16 inches of snow coming our way so I'll go to the local flower shop and buy a bouquet that I can photograph over the weekend.

Bring it on!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

#9 Tulip Series 2018

#9 Tulip Series 2018 
 And in the end, the tulip stems lose their strength, the petals fall and the series ends.

#8 Tulips Series 2018

#8 Tulips Series 2018 
Oh, black and white imagery, how I still do love thee.

I fell in love with black and white film photography back in 1976 when I discovered and fell madly in love with the work of Edward Weston  (1886 - 1958).

Even though I'm photographing 100% digital image capture and 95% color these days I'd like to think I will always see images as though I'm creating for black and white film developing.

#7 Tulips Series 2018

#7 Tulips Series 2018 for Scott W. 
Thanks to the creative adjustments one can make with photo apps on our mobile devices a portrait that was perfect in its original form can be adjusted and customized to convey a different mood and message within a matter of minutes.

While continuing to enjoy the pleasure of my creative moment I read on social media that the father of a friend of mine (Scott) had passed away unexpectedly, less than a year after he had lost his mother and his precious dog Lucy.

I felt compelled to take this portrait and adjust it so it felt more translucent, less substantive, more mysterious and ghost-like.  I added a few words and sent the message with sincere condolences to Scott and his family.

#6 Tulips Series 2018

#6 Tulips Series 2018 
Words cannot describe the magical discovery of new spring light coming in from a south window that has been dark for months.  It is nothing less than magical.

A magnetic force pulled me toward the window to admire the light, feel the warmth of the sunlight and notice the shadows coming through the sheer curtains. 

The light felt fresh and new while conversely, you could see that the tulips were starting to lower their stems, losing their strength and beginning to let go of a petal or two when they were moved, less than gently.