David shares a little of the magic he employed when photographing our latest collaboration with local Manawatū florist, Jill Titter: Floraged.
It's a DoZine (a do-what? a hand-crafted e-magazine that inspires you to get out and 'do' stuff!)
The first act of foraging beauty is the act of seeing, seeing what you want to create with your mind’s eye – something we creatives take for granted. The act of photographing the art of foraging flowers (aka floraging), that I have just completed for my friend Jill in our first Floraged DoZine, becomes an exercise in turning this mind-seeing into a tangible reality. A reality that we give back to ourselves and in turn others via our creations.
To photograph ‘Floraged’ I needed to look through the eyes of our flower-wrangler, Jill Titter, who is a seer of forgotten plants, and through the eyes of Bettina Anderson, our weaver of words; and be the backdrop for the newly-found beauty they create together.
In the same way that Jill crafts her magical found-floral arrangements from what is around her, I photograph the dancing of light, the colour, the mystery, the imperfectness and rightness (perfection can be such a crippling word for creators!!!), along with the obvious and the ‘less so’ – all with the aim of trying to sparkle the imagination of the viewer.
I like to keep things simple. I use a lens that sees about the same angle as my eyes (a 50mm), and a 90mm macro lens that allows me to move in close and isolate the special things that I see. Sometimes I use a 100 - 400mm zoom at the 400mm end to stand back and layer up the image and, if I have done my job right, you will not notice which lens I used!
I use natural light, wandering around the subject looking for the right convergence between the light, the subject, the colour, and time.
I often seek out the grey, drab days to shoot, sometimes rain-soaked (my camera is weatherproof… and I use a plastic bag and rubber bands if it gets a little heavy!), as they often have beautiful light. Perfect light, golden and glorious, is a bit of a one-trick pony, a subtle trap. Whereas exploring the darkness is a playground for discovery… just like the act of floraging is!
I'm quite happy to blur things up a little in order to make painterly backgrounds for our word pictures… sharpness can be overrated! Blurry-beautiful is just as gorgeous as sharp-focused - it’s feeling the idea that matters most.
I try and take simple images, so they illustrate ideas easily. I see my job as being to make my co-creators look cool, illustrating with feeling and a little fun their ideas.
Sometimes I make something a little more painterly - just to bring focus to the subject and to the viewers’ mind’s-eye.
Did I say I like to keep everything simple? I don’t want to be burdened by equipment, just the weight of ideas and feelings as they are hard enough to carry and rediscover into something tangible.
My digital darkroom is a place where I do as little to the image as possible, just tweak here and there to lift life into that which was in front of my eyes from a flat, RAW camera file.
I live for the happy accidents - the more I practice the more I have!
I look with the corners of my eyes, waiting for that glimpse of recognition and turn my camera on to that. Sometimes, in a full-frontal view it can be a little hard to filter out the ‘spectacular’ from the ‘simple’ – the raw beauty of the quiet.
I don’t care about cameras, as long as the one in my hand makes me happy, we get along, and it doesn’t fight me…that’s what I care about and that’s the one I use!
And finally, I practice a lot – both looking and photographing. I make lots of mistakes and I never overlook them, because they too can be surprisingly beautiful.
#BeFlorageous my friends!