I know a lot of people think shooting pictures of flowers is a waste of time or frivolous. I don't really care what other people think. I love the endless variety and colors, the lifecycle from bud to seed, and everything in-between. I have found, looking through a macro lens, that I see things I never saw before - and I have always been a keen observer of flowers!
One of the great joys is discovering something entirely new in the things you see every day. We live in a valley that is carpeted with fields of daffodils, tulips and irises each spring. It's easy to stop seeing them the way you saw them the first time. That's one reason I started looking more closely. Another reason is that no matter how often you look at a subject or view it, I think you always have the opportunity to bring a different sensibility to the image you produce. For example, the photo on the left is how I saw daffodils last year around this time.
I remember being completely startled by the bug inside the daffodil when I downloaded my images and opened them up. Honestly, I had not noticed it when I was shooting the photo. I was concentrating on where I wanted to focus. It seems ridiculous now, but that happens a lot when I shoot flowers. I am thinking about composition or trying to focus and I completely miss something that now seems quite obvious.
We just got our first batch of field daffs this year - the ones picked directly from the fields and sold in bunches of 3 for $5 at local markets. It's a big day when they become available - a sign that spring is truly on its way. The weather has been just miserable, and having these fragrant, golden jewels fills the house with light.
I have been feeling more abstract about daffodils this year, though, so when a sunbeam illuminated the bunch I could only see shapes and color. (Below left).
I've been feeling the heaviness of our weather, too, with all this rain. So I even plunged one underwater to see if the brilliance would survive. (Is this a metaphor for wondering if we can survive until the sun shines again? I don't know - I just feel like we're wet all the time right now.)
And look what happened to it (right and below). The water, at least to me, seems magnify its very daffodil essence.
I'm no Van Gogh, but suddenly I understand his obsession with sunflowers. Why wouldn't you return to the same subject over and over and over again when it can look so very different depending on the light, your mood and the vision in your head? Photographer Cindy Sherman has made a career of shooting images of the same subject - herself. Many other artists have returned to the same subjects again and again. In some sense, knowing the subject you plan to shoot anchors your creativity - it forces one to think outside the box and look for a new angle, a new composition, a new vision.
What do you do to challenge your creativity?
Me, I shoot flowers.