When people first pick up a camera the instinct is often to point it at something beautiful, flowers are the obvious choice.
Many of us also go through a phase of intense, saturated colour, pushing the boundaries of what nature has already perfected.
Botanicals is a celebration of plants and flowers but a study of shape, form and intimate detail rather than colour.
Stripping out the traditional bright colours serves to take away one of the key identifying factors in a flower. In a time when you can point your phone camera at a plant and get an immediate ID it feels important to reintroduce a degree of ambiguity.
This is taken further by the softness throughout the images. While gear talk is often the dullest part of photography, when stepping outside the relentless search for pin sharp images the choices we make can be instrumental to the feel or character. As such most of these images were made with cheap modified lenses or a lo-fi Lensbaby with macro filters to achieve close focus.
This sometimes results in whole swathes of the frame being nothing more than soft shades of grey. In some a slither of sharpness hints at the detail hidden within. In others the subject merely skirts around the edge of sharpness.
In part the idea was to break the plants into constituent parts and rebuild them with a different frame of reference.
I wanted to have some frames where it was difficult to know what plant you were looking at, but others would reveal a little more. Some being slightly more representational or showing a wider aspect, albeit still aiming to include the characteristic softness.
Almost all the plants photographed for this series were taken in our home or garden.
Stepping away from the photography side, when we moved into our house the small back garden was half covered in gravel and the borders planted up with non-native species.
In a village where new developments move us ever closer to the city, pave over fields of wildflowers and block views of the countryside, our garden is supposed to be our small haven. While those around us are cutting down trees and replacing lawns with artificial grass, we planted trees and left areas of grass to grow wild. For some a child friendly garden would mean filling in a pond, but we added one, partly as a way to get the kids excited and hands on with nature. In such a small space we now have an abundance of wildlife.
This space has been even more important to us over the last two years, and being able to use it as a source of photographic inspiration allowed me to keep going when we didn’t have the option of going further afield.