It’s important to push past your comfort zone and since I have always loved photographing flowers along with the rest of the word, it has been a challenge to be considered truly creative by those who are. Hopefully, this cinemagraph is a start. The cinemagraph form is something I actually worked with several years ago in an Advanced Digital Photography at Southern Connecticut State University.
The first challenge is to have a collection of images and video suitable for the technique. Most of my flower photographs are hand held, extreme close ups with radical cropping, hi contrast lighting, and sharp focus which typically results in a dark background.
For the cinemagraph to work, it was important to have a high key background and framing to show the entire blossom…so this would be a 180 in terms of my photographic style. And then, this idea was filed away along with the desire to do some hi key work.
Last year, working with a client who needed dozens of individual, isolated product shots was great practice for the future.
Fast forward to spring 2019: I am taking a workshop led by Kim Weston for the ArtEcon Initiative (www.ArtEconInitiative.org). We meet each week at the Kehler Liddell Gallery, a retail art gallery collectively operated by member artists, in Westville, CT. This being said, though, I am glad that I did not take the broad strokes of advice offered to our workshop group early on in this session series: “no flowers, no dogs, no cuba.” Initially this struck me as very odd but I’ve always tried to show respect for the the opinion of an artist with formal training from an institution worthy of respect. Then there were the continued heated debates within our group about “cropping” and “getting it right in camera” and avoiding post processing. Somehow the individual artist’s intent got lost in the group discussions.
I picked up an interesting dendrobium orchid specimen at White Plains Orchids a few weeks ago and was able to make an image which I thought would be a simple print
for the final presentation at Kim’s workshop. Pushing past some of my recent abstract work, I realized this orchid image was a perfect element for a cinemagraph. I did a bit more research and found that cinemagraphs have only gained in popularity since my original exploration in 2016. This just happened on Friday, May 3rd so I had to dig out some video footage for the composite. I am pretty sure (optimistic) that no one is capturing images of water falls and then animating flowers to float and dance so I was comfortable repurposing the flowing water.
Kim brings a “scholarly” and “established” approach to the conversation about photography. She has been stressing the importance of originality and producing new work which is always good advice although it seemed that there might not have been enough room for folks who had opinions or perspectives that did not coincide with certain personal preferences. It seemed that some folks felt uncomfortable and just stopped coming. Others felt the need to have side conversations during our critiques, leaving the artist who was presenting their work, unable to gain more meaningful feedback.
So back to my work, Taking this a step further, I envision a gallery installation of vertically flowing water with a floral animation projection which could be influenced by locale/environment. Or perhaps, a moving seascape with animated botanical elements. So this will be continued.