This photo series is my homage to the botanical illustrations in Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs(1) by Pierre-Joseph Redouté one of the most well regarded flower encyclopedias of the 19th century. This book is a constant reference I go back to and have always thought of capturing botanic subjects in a similar manner.
When I got to work with this project, I immediately noticed how awkward subjects looked in typical botanical encyclopedias. Branches coming from unnatural angles and flowers blooming straight forward in an artificial manner, these are the things that I noticed from these images that initially seem perfectly ordinary in their beauty. Through creating a purely flower encyclopedia-esque work, I found and exposed the inherent queerness within the ordinary.
I put the spotlight on beautiful flowers that are neither uncommon nor special. I purposely opted to choose run-of-the-mill flowers that you would be able to find at any flower shop, in order to bring out the odd side of seemingly everyday flowers. Some of these flowers I personally grew myself to monitor their growth and find the timing to capture them as photos. I’ve always been captivated by the allure of flowers past their peek point. I feel there is a suggestive beauty behind flowers that have outgrown their prime. Such flowers make an appearance in this body of work as well.
If the purpose of a botanical encyclopedia is to academically document botanical specimen, what purpose does my work fill? It may be that even through my objectiveness towards the subject, the work itself became a sign of my gravitation to the flowers.
Back when color photography did not exist, these images were illustrated with the purpose of replicating the botanic subject as close to reality as possible. I am more interested in doing the exact opposite with the photographic medium, which realistic by nature, can also be used to make a subject look unreal, artificial. I find my fascination in capturing flowers in such a way.
(1) Choix Des Plus Belles Fleurs: et des plus beaux fruits, 1827 - 1833, France, by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759- 1840)