ASSIGNMENT+TIP #37 FLOWERS
Spring in undoubtedly a favourite season for photography enthusiasts everywhere and flowers have inspired all types of photographers from the greatest, like Robert Mapplethorpe, to the beginners who have just purchased their first camera.
But pictures of flowers can be very boring and repetitive. The theme is so saturated that Stock Photography libraries don’t accept them any more, except specialised photo agencies who are interested in scientific names and classifications.
So this month we will talk about ways to make your flower images extraordinary. To inspire you, we chose Nick Knight’s images of flowers in two different bodies of work.
Nick Knight is known for shooting high-concept fashion spreads for the likes of i-D, Vogue, W Magazine, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior, but he spent three years lookiing at six million herbarium specimens at the Natural History Museum in London to select just 45 to photograph for his Flora exhibition (picture above).
The resulting compositions are beautifully simple. Photographed from above, each reads as an object in space; without border or perspective. To try to achieve a similar result, you could try to photograph flowers on the top of a lightbox (an object used mainly during darkroom times to view slides and negatives with detail), or make sure you use a clean background. Overexposing the image results in the ghostly, translucent feel, with colours less saturated and more details revealed.
If you prefer bolder images, focus on Knights Melting Floral Photomanipulations (main Newsletter image). For this series, Nick was inspired by paintings from the Baroque period. The altered large-format photographs of elegant floral arrangements take on a psychedelic, gorgeously twisted liquidity. By exposing the prints to various combinations of heat, chemical and water treatments during the printing process, he was able to interject each piece with an intriguing, painterly flair.
This melting effect can be attempted by using the “Liquify” tool on Photoshop to warp, twirl, pucker, bloat and push the elements in the photograph, as in these images by Antonio Leanza (LSP Founder). Another technique to be tried in order to create unusual flower images are double exposures. Some cameras have the option available in the shooting menu, but it can also be created by using layers (with different opacities) on Photoshop.
With more simple editing tools, experiment changing the hue and saturation, swapping colours, adding texture filters and many other options available on photo editing software. The key is letting your imagination flow.
Send us your images for a chance to win an Evening Workshop at LSP.
Please submit your photos here (A maximum of 3 images per person). Click on Login or Register a new account and click on upload. Deadline: June 30th 2015.
To get your ideas coming we prepared a Pinterest inspiration board, take a look and get started! Also below a video about Ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Enjoy!
Photo credit: © Nick Knight