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Happy Spring from a Calla Lily

Finally, it’s spring.  For those of you for whom this relates, also let me wish you a Happy Easter.  It’s still cold outside though and the flowers are only beginning to take a stand.  As such, I retreated to the studio for some spring time inspiration.  Nothing over the top, went over to Stop and Shop and picked up a Calla Lily.  This plant though was a real trooper.

041419 - Cally Lily Stack 3-Edit-Edit

However, without realizing it, I have left myself open to a major charge of copycatitis.  I am a regular follower of the blog of Stephen Gingold who is a superb nature and fine art photographer located in western Massachusetts, not far from the Quabbin.  He just posted a stunning black and white flower image, something he has done before.  I didn’t really copy him, but have sure been inspired by his by his use of black and white photography to capture the wonderful lines and textures of flowers.  If you want to see Stephen’s incredible black and white flower work (among other subjects), click here.

140419 - Gally Lily Stack 2-Edit

Why black and white flower photography?  Good question.  This particular subject has lovely magenta petals.


I think every photographer would have to address that question on a personal level.  I am in love with the design of flowers, much as I am in love with the design of the dam and dike at the Quabbin Reservoir.  Flowers though are natural.  Close to being perfect, but that wouldn’t be natural.


The flowers are alike, and they relate to one another, yet they each have their own identity.  Nature really blesses us with incredibly appealing designs, flowers are among her greatest hits in my view.  But we tend to think about the beauty if flowers (I should say I tend to think) as been largely related to their wonderful colors.  But there is much more.


In this sense, I think, black and white (or in this case monochrome since these images are actually sepia) represent another window on one of nature’s most intriguing mysteries:  the beauty of flowers.  Enjoy the nice weather.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the plug, James. I don’t think that you copied at all. Plus, Ansel and Eliot did a lot of black and white flowers long before either of us picked up a camera. Funny thing is….I looked at some of these at the market this morning and almost did the same as you. That would have been funny.
    The removal of color, or capture in black and white mode/film, really allows the shape and tonal range to take center stage. Color can be very commanding and totally draw attention away from what one is trying to communicate….unless, of course our story is the color. 🙂
    One of my favorite images is a black and white painted trillium.

    April 20, 2014
    • I got so carried away with myself there, I forgot to tell you what a nice job you did in your studio setting. The light and tonal rendition is really quite pleasing.

      April 20, 2014
      • Thanks for the kind words Stephen. Again I find that studying a subject makes me appreciate it that much more. It is also nice on occasion as you know to be able to study the subject, while warm and dry, in the middle of the day, rather than freezing, wet at sunrise/sunset which is what we nature photographers usually have to do!

        April 21, 2014
  2. Sandra #

    Elegant and sensual …

    April 20, 2014
  3. Gladys #

    Happy Easter, James to you and your family. The calla lily is beautiful – so glad you introduced your friend, Stephen, whose photographs are exquisite. I will continue to follow his postings, too.

    April 20, 2014
  4. I read somewhere that copying an artist is the hoghest form of compliment you can give. Love your images.

    April 21, 2014
    • I’d like to think so. I really don’t think it is possible not to be influenced by the work of others. If you appreciate art, you’re going to be interested in what other folks, such as Stephen, can do. Thanks.

      April 21, 2014

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