I admit it: I’m a guy who likes flowers. Big ones, small ones, showy ones, even the meh ones. I like getting them, I like giving them. And it really must be something in the DNA: I was a real nature boy growing up. You cannot imaging the teasing…
Ask my mom. I was the kid that could spend hours staring at a blade of grass. In her mind, she was probably thinking “Oooh, man. I’m going to have to have him ‘tested'” (and she actually did). But as it turns out, I was just really into the detail of a blade of grass. Or the pedals of a marigold. Or the flutter of a quaking aspen leaf. I love the colors and subtle textures. When I was growing up, my pets were morning glories.
And once everybody figured out that I wasn’t short a few pennies, things fell into place fast. It starting off with a gift in the form of a magnifying glass; if I was going to stare at something for half a day, I may as well do it right and not destroy my eyes. It was also the point I sold my soul to rock-n-roll and became a total flower child.
Skip ahead a few years and the total flower child became a total flower dude. Worse, he had a camera. Now, whenever I go on a trip–to anywhere–I always make a point of checking out the local flora. Being a travel writer, and from a professional standpoint, you really never know what your audience is going to hone in on, so it behooves you to take photos of every stupid little thing you see. But my floraphilia is also one of those rare instances where something from childhood survives–nay, thrives–into adulthood.
Of course, it’s been played around with. A few photography classes here, some art theory lectures there, a peruse through things like composition, volume, negative space, and lighting took a kid’s fascination and made it into something marketable. I always pictured myself as a writer; now I’m actually making headway as a photographer. I got into Attitude Magazine, out of the UK, solely as a photog. The article was about Las Vegas, not flowers, but you get the idea. What works for a jack-in-the-pulpit works for a cityscape.
And forget the whole cheery vibe; flowers are VERSATILE. They can be happy or sad, vivacious or vicious, reassuring or downright creepy. I took the following in Whitland, in Wales. White roses. It just so happened to be in the shade and it was raining, and has to be one of my most melancholy images:
So I still love flowers. And I branched out! Now like like ferns and fungus, too! You can’t take the jungle out of the boy. It’s ironic that I live in New York, and just try and find something there that isn’t pruned to within an inch of its life.
I guess I will always have something to go back to.