After several different subjects, and finding that the flowers with the hardiest stems seemed to produce the best results for this “Death of a Flower” series I’ve been working on, you would think I would continue on this path, wouldn’t you?
I couldn’t resist. The sunflowers showed me how vibrant colors showed up in the studio, so when I saw these gerber daisies, I knew they had to be the next group. The centers looked like eyes, how could I say no? The stems weren’t that thin, and in fact, when I looked at the back of them, it appeared that a wilted version of this flower might be very interesting. I took several shots from the reverse side the first day I had them.
I wasn’t worried about the petals falling off like they had with the lilies I had tried out a few weeks earlier. I was more anxious about wilting, and there was no doubt they were going to wilt. It was just a matter of how fast, and how hard it was to get a good image. Face down, I thought, these couldn’t be all that interesting.
At this point I was still finishing up with the hydrangeas, so I let the gerber daisies go a while. I got back to them on day 5, and by then, half of them had already started to droop. But they didn’t quite cave. They gently bent. Downcast almost.
Now I wasn’t seeing an eye, I was seeing a whole face, a head, a neck. It would be fleeting, I knew that, but just for this moment, this group showed me something marvelous. The three that weren’t wilting yet were producing something just as great.
These two showed a bit of decay, but for the most part, they were holding up. They had a steadfast quality. I went back later in the day and shot the same flowers, this time, getting more contrast from the background:
One thing I did not do at this point, which on reflection would have been a good idea, was to take another group, so you could see how different they all were already: three of them drooping, two with their faces to the sky, and the sixth…
…looked like a staring eye. I took several shots of this particular one on day 6. This one was my favorite. As the days passed the yellow flecks became more and more prominent, adding a nice color accent to the image. Meanwhile, the three drooping daisies got droopier.
The petals, instead of dropping off or hardening to a crisp, wrapped themselves back and around, giving a strange motion to the still image, as if the whole flower were rotating on the axis of its stem. This would get less pronounced by day 9, when the petals began to dry. They began to resemble bells.
Meanwhile, something strange happened to one of the flowers. Just one. In the center of the “eye”, which had been black on all six flowers, the entire field filled with yellow, backed with the same red color as the flower. It was startling.
The staring eye had dropped by the ninth day, but these two remained mostly upright. When I shot them together, and if you see them as eyes, the right one is cloudy, blind. If you see the one on the right as a face, it looks expressionless. Such a contrast between two of a kind.
After two weeks, these two finally started to droop like all the others, but they were all individuals throughout.
No two things are the same, nor would we want them to be. If all of these flowers, and if all of us, did the same exact thing in the same exact way, what would be the point? There are so many different things we can be. When it comes to beauty, similarity can only go so far before it loses its appeal. It is in diversity that we can see a myriad of beauty, and in each one of these flowers I saw something new, unique and exciting.