From a dark trail
I emerge at Elysium.
Wildflowers and bees.
Throughout 2018, and 2019 I studied and worked endlessly, squeezing in as many shooting opportunities as possible and spending countless hours in post-camera production. The result is a vast library of images I quite like and could even be proud of. Subjects that captured surprise and delight, that appealed to both my heart and my imagination. Shots that document the rhythms of nature and the rich agricultural heritage of my county. They all give me joy and satisfaction but none of these pictures have ever been seen by anyone but me.
Every so often a friend or photography associate will ask me, What are you working on now? and honestly, I usually despair of my response, which often takes the form of, Nothing special. A disappointment to them and to me. Photography in the time of Pandemic has been both an adjustment and a challenge for me. Mandated by my medical team, my opportunities have been very limited; mingling or travelling to interesting locations have been strictly forbidden. My catalogue has not grown much at all since February 2020. Hence my near constant response of Nothing special.
Until the arrival of the coronavirus, the number of days throughout my life with nothing essential to do have been few and far between yet, with the world running on COVID time, that exactly describes my past twelve months. At first I wasn’t entirely sure how to wrap my brain about such vast emptiness – a calendar with no entries – but slowly small projects began to seep in and now a whopper has come my way.
Persuaded and pestered in equal measure by one of my mentors, I’ve been curating a collection of my pictures with a view to creating a short, hopefully sweet volume about wildflowers. Their blossoms form an idyllic mise-en-scène of sensuality, colour, scent, texture and taste – a world I’ve come to love more and more with each passing year.
Researching each species, this project fuses photography with writing and my joy with discipline. My mind and soul are fully immersed in this “work”. It is a grand surprise to me that this collection is proving useful — I shot these photos purely for my own enjoyment. There is a healthy dose of doubt, though…
What if these shots are not interesting to anyone else? Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder*. What if my work is maladroit, uninspired, abecedarian? There will come a point where I shall have to find the courage to find out. Not just yet, though, there’s still a lot to be done.
Most enjoyable so far? Designing the front and back covers. Silliness, to be sure, but it was tons of fun playing with pictures, text and fonts.
After a year of isolation, of missing out on alluring photography shoots and of inactivity, this project was a Godsend. Now though, I feel springtime in the air. Armed with my first of two vaccination shots and fired up by a year’s missed opportunities, I am very keen to get out with my camera again. To kick-start the reanimation of my photographic journey. Not, however, until the first draft is complete. I hope.
‘Til next time, y’all…
*M.W. Hungerford from her book Molly Bawn (1878).
Wildflowers or weeds?
Vibrant, enduring beauty.
Nature has no flaws!
(If you answered “weeds” we can never be friends!)