Flower Photography: I Used To Think It Was Boring

March 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment


I am looking out at the gloom of the season, waiting for the last of the snow to melt and hoping that none more comes, but it will.


When I was in grade school, the old saying was repeated by every teacher, every semester:  March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  


It remains too dull to go out and about for a brisk, healthy walk in the sunshine.


I didn't invest in snow shoes this year, so I didn't trek anywhere. I knitted, instead. 


What the hell does one photograph on a dull, somewhat frozen muddy day.


There is not much to look forward to except the warming of the season and flowers. Yes.... flowers. In the transition of seasons, flowers are as close as the nearest market which sells them and the light of a window in a corner of your home. Flowers will never fail you in any season. They stand tall in vases like soldiers waiting for light that they need in the water they digest at a time when they cannot live in the plant that produced them. It is a sacrifice that they make in a season when they should transition to reproduction of the plant that produced them. There is a path to nature. When we cut flowers, we change that cycle for our own gratification. It is a sacrifice worth noting, not a voluntary gift on their behalf.


Among many photographers, the mindset and the subject is tagged with the same attitude:  Flowers are boring and meant for beginners.  


Nothing could be further from the truth. When you see a "beginner" flower photo, you know it. You know it because we all started there. Flowers are tough. They're tough to photograph and they're even tougher to sell. Trust me, I've tried! While everyone thinks that they can photograph flowers, it is the art of photographing flowers that challenges the best of us.


I scanned through my catalog because I have always photographed and loved flowers. There is form in their dance and it is worth noting. There is a level of challenge or mastery in capturing them artfully.  You must develop a relationship with the subject. They are free spirited, even when they are cut and "domesticated."  Flowers require a great deal of patience because you must build your relationship with them.

Even in your stylized post process of how you think they will look in "your art," the relationship you had with Le fleur will determine the way that the photograph turns out. The love of flowers is a starting point, but like anything else in life, you must create a bond or understanding so that you can find a magic moment between you, the subject and the button on the camera that says it's okay. It's not much different from getting a wild animal to trust you or spending time with a cat you want to take from feral to domesticate. This is a trust you want to communicate between you and the flower. This supersedes "beginner" territory.  Here is my challenge to you: Learn the dance and then learn when you and the flower trust each other enough to get you to press the button.





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