Event: – The Photo Florilegium:  New Ways to Photograph Plants

On March 19th and 20th at the Marin Art & Garden Center I will be joined with fellow garden photographer David Perry on a new project – The Photo Florilegium.  A photo florilegium is an organized photographic collection of essential plant portraits within a specific location. (More on Photo Florilegium).  It is a brand new idea in garden photography and we are incubating it with a lecture and workshop.

At the Saturday afternoon lecture (March 19) David will speak about the Picture Perfect Plant Portrait, a playful new framework from which to consider how best to picture the plants we love.

Perry20151001_DPP-112

My presentation The PhotoBotanic Illustration, is a new technique, “Extractions,” where garden plants are illustrated in situ to show both a plant’s detail and the garden where it is found.

Flowering branch of California native shrub, Arctostaphylos manzanita 'Monica', photobotanic illustration
Flowering branch of California native shrub, Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Monica’, photobotanic illustration

From the lecture and discussion we hope to lead with the audience, we seek a new way for photographers to study a garden – the Photo Florilegium. A good garden deserves a thoughtful cataloguing of its plants that becomes an illustrated mosaic of its special features.  We want to explore the possibilities that photography offers in plant portraits.

Red Cabbage - Brassica oleracea plant portrait by David Perry
Red Cabbage – Brassica oleracea plant portrait by David Perry

Photography offers a beautiful realism that brings scientific authority to the plant portrait.  The observant photographer can reveal the details of that beauty. A collected series of plant portraits of a garden becomes is florilegium.

A garden is a collection of plants after all, but those plants are not isolated in that garden, they live together with others under the influence of the gardener.  The best plants are carefully chosen and cared for in a manner not found in nature, and often the casual observer is not aware of the subtle ways a plant shows that it is thriving in the garden.

Keen observers will notice these happy plants and skillful photographers can illustrate what makes a plant special in the essential  moment of that setting.  Only a photograph can capture that one moment to reveal the truth of the beauty.

Toyon Extraction – Before and After Slider

 

A painter may be equally observant but is not limited in the moment.  With skill, the painter can illustrate and embellish that beauty so that it can become more than what it was in the garden.  A masterful botanic illustration can show a more complete portrait than a photographer can achieve, showing details that a photograph can not capture in a single image.

For artistic rendering there is nothing quite like a botanic illustration to evoke the beauty of a plant, but a PhotoBotanic illustration can invoke a different understanding of beauty in situ.

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'; pink flowering dogwood tree branch in California garden
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’; pink flowering dogwood tree branch in California garden

What makes a photographic plant portrait part of a Photo Florilegium ?  First and foremost it must be correctly labeled and must show some essential element that distinguishes it from similar plants in its family.  The portrait can not be shot outside of the garden and the image must indicate something of its setting.  Beyond these basic parameters this new idea in garden photography will develop in the exploration of possibilities by the practitioners.

Come join us as we begin this project at Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross, California March 19 and 20, 2016.

The Photo Florilegium:  New Ways to Photograph Plants Tickets on sale Feb. 16.  Comment below for mailing list.

 

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