Virginia Roadside Flora

I recall when I first began seriously learning photography, I took many floral portraits. Flowers are beautiful subjects with color and texture, shape and line and form. And most importantly, they hold still. They can be arranged in lovely fashion and moved to the most advantageous light with a background that fades away so the flower shines.

While I still love flowers, I often work with the constraint of the natural environment of the flower, choosing indigenous plants over those flowers from the florist. As I look back at some of my earlier flower images, I see that many are technically correct and composed well, yet they fail to move me. In many ways, they remind me of pages from a seed catalog. Sow these seeds, grow this flower. And if my goal was to make pictures of the plants themselves, the pictures would be fine.

But my goal is not to take pictures for a seed catalog. Instead, I yearn to make pictures that remind me of home. Of long drives on country roads on sultry summer days in the South. Of wayside picnic areas. Of ditches and meadows and fields. Of bouquets little children make for mothers from roadside offerings. There is a certain finesse to making these kinds of photographs – some cross between botanical illustration and painting with light.

Mimosa

Mimosa

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace