Experimentation 11: Beauty photoshoot inspired by Tim Walker’s and Nick Knight’s work

Another creative line I took in investigating the relation between flowers the human face led me to a sequence of photos inspired by Tim Walker’s photo-shoot of Nick Knight, where In Knight poses with a vase of flowers. I attempted to do something similar with a professional photographer (Haris) I have collaborated closely with in the past, and I explained to him the conceptual roots (Walker-Knight) of the photos I wanted to take of him. While Walker’s photos of Knight were the inspiration of my photo-shoot, I wanted the latter to have its own unique identity. Ultimately, I wanted to explore the threefold relationship between flowers, faces, and human emotions. In one of the photos, seen below, I had Haris’s face partly hidden by foliage. I intentionally obscured the mouth and one of the eyes. My thought was that the mouth and eyes are the main facial features which reveal emotions. By partially hiding Haris’s mouth and his right eye, I wanted to let the foliage act as a supplement to human emotion expressed through facial expressions. I did leave his left eye exposed to the camera lens, however, to allow for a more explicit sample of Haris’s facial expression. My concern was not for Haris to try and convey a particular emotion that I chose or planned beforehand. Contrary to Walker-Knight photo-shoot, I wanted to preserve an air of mystery regarding what emotion the photo illustrated – this is why I chose to employ a dim, red-coloured background lighting. Ultimately, I wanted the viewers to engage in the interpretative work of deciphering Haris’s emotion. In the second photo I decided to go with a portrait that separated Haris’s face with the plant he was holding, but, at the same time, have the leaf cast a shadow on the face. In this way I preserved the mysterious quality of my sequence of photos, while offering a clearer visual access to Haris’s face. Interestingly, in this case Haris chose to close his eyes and maintain a more serene expression – thus, even if his face was more exposed visually than the other photo, this did not necessarily imply that his face had become easier to decipher in terms of emotions.


Experimentation 10: Beauty photoshoot inspired by Giuseppe Arciboldo Duane Michals work

In my research about artistic representations of flowers I stumbled upon the work of Giuseppe Arciboldo, a sixteenth-century Italian painter. What I found interesting in Arciboldo’s work was his depiction of natural objects – flowers, fruits, vegetables – to illustrate human-like faces. I wanted to experiment on something similar so I researched some more about art that put flowers in portraits. This led me to Duane Michal’s series of photos entitled “The Dream of Flowers”. Michals’s work, I thought, shared Archiboldo’s surreal dimension – by alternating the number and position of flowers relative to the face of his model Michals tries to convey various messages about love, death, separation etc. In this experiment I attempted to play with similar ideas as Archiboldo and Michals by developing my own sequence of portraits with flowers.


Experimentation 9: Frozen memories

The previous experiments prompted me to attempt another approach where I froze the flower in a block of ice and then took photographs of the melting flowers. This approach symbolises the longing of people to preserve memories – memories that come to life when looking at flowers. In my work, I identify this quest for preserving memories with a particular emotion: nostalgia.


Experimentation 7: Decomposed flowers 1

In order to also experiment with the idea of flowers in relation to human memory as well as human aging and the process of decay I also used the approaches of fade-out and added-colour but with decomposed flowers.

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