Exercise 5.5 What is a flower?

  1. Obtain two flowers of the same kind. Put one in a vase and leave it for a few weeks
  2. Take a close “macro” photo of the other flower against a neutral background
  3. Now pull the flower apart and photograph this sequence of destruction
  4. Make an individual extreme close-up of every part of the flower: petals, stamens, seeds, pollen, stalk etc., against either a white or a black background
  5. Seek an example of the shape or form of the flower in another subject
  6. Photograph the word “flower” in the dictionary or print it out with its definition.
  7. After a few weeks the second flower will have wilted and faded. Photograph it in the same way you photographed the healthy flower
  8. Print all of these photographs as small prints about 8x10cm and arrange them in a grid or pattern with the dictionary definition. Photograph this arrangement


I am not totally sure I did this correctly. I think I got confused about which flower to put in a vase and which one to take out of the vase, and which one to pull apart, etc. Anyway – I made some images. I have been reading and looking at the works of Mapplethorpe a lot over the last couple of weeks. I watched a documentary about him on TV, then I went to the Wim Wenders Polaroid exhibition, and as much as I liked that, I realised I preferred Mapplethorpe’s, so started reading more about him.

I will do up a separate blog contribution on Mapplethorpe, and probably another on the Wim Wenders exhibition, but the influence of the Mapplethorpe flowers on my initial set up for this project was strong. His very minimal, often macro’s images were shown in the documentary to be mostly black and white, but my further reading and Google, showed otherwise. But I tried to keep the images quite minimal, quite a low depth-of-field, and tried over exposing them a little to try and create a delicate feel to the flowers. They were some regular indoor orchids, so I wanted a lightness. I also wanted that wrapped element of the kettles folded on themselves. The central stamen of the flower wasn’t as striking as I had thought it would be – but that was only a preconceived plan – it was satisfactory over all.




The shiny new flowers, then broken etc.


Certain death, death, death…..


I did some hunting for colours and shapes like the overlapping of the kettles, or the pinkness of the petals. I didn’t do as well with these as I would like and think I will try and get some more. They just don’t have the lightness that I sense in the flower.


Once again looking at the work of Mapplethorpe, I might start a still life, table top project. He utilised the flowers on days when he wasn’t working on his other projects – they were accessible, manageable to do at all times. I could do with a project like that.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. david516059 says:

    Nice work! I’m just behind you, FiP-wise that is, not in a creepy horror movie kinda way! And have been wondering how to approach this exercise. It feels akin to Ex. 2.1 where we had to take images like those of Blossfeldt. I’m thinking of approaching it in a deadpan kind of pseudo-scientific way but thanks to your blog I’ll check out Mapplethorpe beforehand.

    Dave C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oca515648 says:

    You’re behind me in a more pantomime way for christmas maybe.
    Yeah – the Mapplethorpe is a good way to go, but do maybe more ‘as I say and less as i do’… I talked about it, but didn’t really do it… it ended up just a macro thing. Next time I will do better – promise.


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