LensCulture Editor Review
Flowers have always spoken the language of our senses. While words in any language have to keep expanding to keep up with changing times, flowers can say more silently with their brilliant colors, shapes and scents than we can imagine. Time and again we struggle to find those images which can best express our innermost emotions and yet it seems that the language we’ve learned to depend on fails us. Yet a single flower can often fill in that void, conveying an illumination only the heart can truly understand.
Not surprisingly, the images of flowers’ connection to mankind can be traced back to as early as the primitive era in cave paintings. But as leading botanist and popular science writer William Burger pointed out in his book Flowers: How They Changed the World, the connection between humans and flowers is even more fundamental.
Burger explains: “Since they energize themselves by capturing the energy of sunlight, flowers provide a vital link in the chain of life. Even today in our complex technological world, it is the flowering plants that provide us, directly or indirectly, with nearly all the energy that sustains life.” He goes on to say “Without flowers, we humans simply wouldn’t be here, whether as primates, two-legged omnivores, or grand civilizations!”
It is hard to imagine that even long after our human civilizations have crumbled, the flowers -- from Tulips to Roses, Magnolias to Camellias, Orchids to Irises -- will be not just be objects of beauty but will carry in them a snapshot of our own time here.
Their gorgeous colors, intriguing forms, unique textures and their limited lifespan were like a lost continent that drew me inward and compelled me to document their lives. What remained was one central question: how do flowers play such a crucial role in our human cultures and emotions? It is a classic nature vs. nurture question as to how this relationship came to be. Which came first …the human need for flowers, or the power of flowers to evoke and enhance our emotions through light and color and scent? If the flower is just an innocent plant, why do they have the power to bring so much of love, joy, solace and memories into our lives? Perhaps then what I’m showing here is not so much the portraits of flowers but portraits of our own souls – because through them we learn more about ourselves, our own emotions, and how we meld and melt into the world around us.