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Tuesday, 08 January 2008

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I knew I was onto something:
http://justinsomnia.org/2007/06/what-basil-sees/

Also, a California poppy take from the same vantage (at bottom):
http://justinsomnia.org/2007/04/china-camp-state-park/

Do you mean bronzing or gloss differential?

"Given the ubiquitious, done-to-death nature of flower photos..."

As opposed to those other genres -- like landscapes, nudes, wildlife, street photography, and the ever popular depressed-looking-person-in-motel-room -- which are *much* less ubiquitous. ;-)

YES, flowers are one of the most preferred subjects for amateurs with new cameras.

YES, flowers are one of the most preferred subjects for camera owners too timid, or too lethargic, to chase something with a pulse.

YES, flowers are very over-represented at places like Flickr.

YES, flower photography has been cited by various human rights organizations as one of the most popular forms of torture throughout the world. Rumor has it that most people who are rendered find themselves with their eyelids clipped open watching continuous slide shows of British garden photos. It's more effective than "waterboarding".

BUT....

YES, flowers and other growy things offer numerous possibilities to the genuinely creative eye.

YES, because of this, it's still worth looking at good flower work (even voluntarily!).

YES, I'd gladly rather spend time looking at good, creative flower photos than most peoples' lamely imitative black-and-white "street" photos.

So thanks for bringing this book to our attention, Geoff.

Geoff, I echo your sentiments about flowers ... I'm happy with my own nature photography for the most part ... but flowers as a subject is tough ... I just haven't figured out how to photograph them to my satisfaction. On forums, there are plenty of subjects "done to death" as Daniel says, but many of those are done well ... I don't see flowers done well very often, so I'm appreciative of good flower pictures.

Ken,

Would you care to elaborate on what constitutes a "creative" flower photograph, as opposed to a "lamely imitative" street photo. Having been swamped with more of the former than the latter, I would consider flowers more high risk as a cliche, but I guess it depends on where you view most of your photographs, and what kinds of boring images are foisted on you.

I realize you can't post a link to a lousy portfolio, but at times like this, I wish we each had "good" and "bad" versions of each of the genres in question that we had taken ourselves, strictly for illustrative purposes.

those are awesome shots.

I'm pretty sure Tony didn't even take those pictures...it was freakin' Ernie the Cat. That cat had to have learned something over the years.

"Ken,

Would you care to elaborate on what constitutes a "creative" flower photograph, as opposed to a "lamely imitative" street photo. Having been swamped with more of the former than the latter, I would consider flowers more high risk as a cliche, but I guess it depends on where you view most of your photographs, and what kinds of boring images are foisted on you.

I realize you can't post a link to a lousy portfolio, but at times like this, I wish we each had "good" and "bad" versions of each of the genres in question that we had taken ourselves, strictly for illustrative purposes."

Hello Carl,
That's a fair query, given my remarks.

Of course I am no arbiter of good or bad. But, to me, a "good" photograph is one that I will remember seeing. I may not remember the photographer's name or where I originally saw the image. I actually might not have even liked it. But I can remember seeing it and, like a familiar scent wafting past my olfactory gland, seeing it again instantly recalls that memory.

So when it comes to such a common subject as flowers a distinctive presentation demands a different point of view and perhaps even a different medium. From what I can see, Tony knows this. He seems to be lighting the flowers for unusual color contrasts and shooting from different angles. Not long ago I saw some radiograph images --photography of a different ilk-- of flowers that were completely captivating and endlessly memorable. Justin (above) is also onto something worth continued exploration with more serious conviction, largely due to it's point of view.

As for lame street photography, well... Beggars and sidewalk smokers seem to be the "flowers" for young, camera-toting urban males who cannot find flowers. Their images do not inform us, they don't capture irony or humor, they don't reflect any insights into their subjects any more than a stuffed deer head informs us about wildlife. They're just personal trophies, usually converted to black and white to make them look like the work of Erwitt, Winogrand, HCB, etc. It may have been great fun for the fellow the capture such images --and isn't that 90% of the reason to pursue photography anyway?-- and their owners may enjoy getting comments like "Awsome capture, dude!" from anonymous visitors to their Flickr galleries. But the vast majority of this stuff, like the vast majority of flower photos, is chaff.

Again, just my opinion in response to your inquiry.

For a great flower photographer take a look at

http://www.cameraflora.org

I've been watching this photographer for 10 years ever since he brought a set of 4x6 drugstore prints to a photo discussion group and asked whether he had something worth pursuing.

One thing I've learned from him is that any subject that can be photographed is inexhaustible. He photographs nothing but flowers and hass kept his work fresh and evolving for the entire time I've known him.

Wow these photographs of the flowers are wonderful!!

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