Sometimes Less Is More

by David Perry on April 11, 2011

in Do It Yourself Projects,Facts and Lore,How We Did It,Locally Grown

. . . the trick is knowing when.

Today I brought home a single bunch of Muscari from the Farmer’s Market, where they were gifted me by a friend. Such sweet, stunning little grape hyacinth flowers. And rather than run the risk of trying too hard, rather than forcing them to serve as one of many elements in some larger, fancier bouquet, this time I kept to the advice I so often hear from chefs when they talk about preparing fresh, local, seasonal foods. I kept to the essential, to the utterly simple, letting these beautiful ingredients speak for themselves.

Then, for the pure joy of it I photographed them within a visually rich but entirely uncluttered world of rusted sheet metal and soft, directional light, to create a slightly mysterious world of space and tone, and mood. I’ve included that photograph, more or less as it was originally shot in full color (below), in addition to the aged, patinaed version (above), to let you see how I then worked after the camera, to create a playful sense of antiquity. I’m not sure I can say which is the better shot, or if one can actually be better than the other. They each say such different things, take the viewer to such immensely different emotional places. You’ll know for yourself if one speaks more eloquently to you than the other. And if one does, I would certainly love to hear why in the comments section below.

Either way, they both have this one thing in common; they both picture the very simplest form of a bouquet, a small bunch of just one type of flower in a container filled with water. It is a gift so simple that nearly anyone can offer it to oneself or to someone else, and because of that it is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh flowers.

Sometimes less really is more . . .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John Currie April 11, 2011 at 5:38 am

When it comes to your photography, I agree with the philosophy of the chefs you quote above “……this time I kept to the advice I so often hear from chefs when they talk about preparing fresh, local, seasonal foods. I kept to the essential, to the utterly simple, letting these beautiful ingredients speak for themselves…….” I covet your rusted metal. I have been waiting patiently, forever, to find just the right piece to use as a background for portraits……

David Perry April 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Johnnie, I hope you stumble upon a scrap metal dealer in your new neighborhood. Sheet goods can be cut to size and are often sold by the pound. I’m anxious to see what you’ll be able to coax out of your subjects in such an earthy setting. Thanks for the note.

Rona April 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I love the first image! It looks like an antique postcard and really captures the vintage feel that’s around in the UK at the moment.

It’s amazing to see the effect you can get by tweaking the original image…Did you use Photoshop?

David Perry April 12, 2011 at 12:30 am

Hi Rona, I’m glad you like the vintage, distressed-look image, and thank you for taking the time to say as much. In this case, I used a combination of iPhone apps rather than Photoshop for most of the work, actually importing a downsized photo made on a professional level Canon camera into my iPhone and then additively modifying and saving the picture in steps, via three different apps to arrive at the desired effect. Once I’d acheived the look I was after I re-imported the patinaed image into back Photoshop on my computer to add the typography and then place it within the blog post. I’m experimenting a great deal with some of these amazing little ‘apps’ these days, because they can get me places I’d find it difficult to arrive visually otherwise.

I’ll probably do a blog post soon over at A Photographer’s Garden Blog to offer up some “how to’s”, based on what I’ve been learning.

Really appreciate your stopping by and I do hope I’ve answered your question.

Laurie (Fleurie) April 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

The flowers that I put on my table tend to be mono-botanical and simply put into a vase. I love both of the photos, but prefer the original with the vivid purple and the rusty background. It is amazing what can be done with the phone apps too.

compostinmyshoe April 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm

The appreciation of its details are tenfold when displayed in such a way. You certainly tell us what to focus on when limiting the scope. The way they arch is fantastic.

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