My aim is to portray life and memory using flowers and photography as a medium.
Flowers are present in all the important stages of our lives – throughout different cultures, all around the world. Flowers can symbolise a new beginning, a birth, the beauty of youth, a celebration or enlightenment, and we also bring them to the dead as a symbol of life.
I wanted to make an introspective journey through different stages of human life with my flower images, dividing the project into three different parts – and creating a tryptic to represent birth, life and death.
Following that concept, this first set of prints represent Life, in which our memories of youth, identity, love, vanity, joy and even some of life’s dark moments will remain frozen for the rest of our lives in our memories. Lives that are full of colour and other ones that not always go so much as planned. In these images we see the blooming of someone’s life in a shy small row of little flowers. We can also see images with flowers in full blossom with its dark corners and of course flowers in full bloom, but with a partly scratched surface, while in other images I added the mystery and darkness of a totally cracked surface in the foreground while finding fully open flowers in the background.
I transferred life and identity from the flowers to the memory of the ice, where things will remain still but full of its meaning. We will then spend the rest of our lives looking back, time and time again at those moments frozen in time in our memories without loosing them. These images create mystical and symbolic realities that we all carry in our memory.
The flower arrangements were made by Japanese flower artist Azuma Makoto, who I met while on a shoot commission for a magazine. I felt very strongly about his work. And so a week after our meeting I was photographing the frozen flowers inside a huge freezer in south London at – 6°C – during a heat-wave in London.
My immediate goal is to complete the trilogy and my next step is to shoot Death, the third part of the tryptic. I have found another flower artist willing to collaborate with me next September, this time the pictures will be taken underwater instead of in ice and I’ll be adding video and sound to the triptych so I can make the experience of a future exhibition more evolving, fluid and complete.
The development of this project started from the idea of taking a picture not just of a moment in time in our memory, but also the feeling of memories in our lives.From my point of view, photography has always meant capturing the beauty of a moment – to have that graphic document forever with you and being able to appreciate it again and again, over many years.
My favourite form of photography has always been Polaroid. When I was nine years old my dad gave me a Polaroid camera as a present and it’s when my love for photography and capturing moments started and then later in the years it developed in to a career. Polaroid is my favourite format of photography as it captures a moment in a one off outcome, which to me is the essence of photography. In fact, Polaroid was the medium I started using 15 years ago when I began photographing flowers, and I have hundreds of Polaroids of flowers. I found instant film the perfect medium, although I recently moved to digital technology, as of course the manufacturer has discontinued making instant film. I am really enjoying the challenge and possibilities that have come with this change and how versatile and fast shooting can get.
I have been working in the commercial side of photography for over 12 years. My clients include Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Barclays. I am very grateful to all my clients for all the commissions over the years. I have developed a good career in photography through them and have experienced some professional highs that have been profoundly fulfilling. This project has giving me the freedom of express myself freely all the way through the process and I have been able to push the boundaries of my own work further away that I expected, specially now that I’m going to incorporate sound and video. So it feels like a new step in my work – all because of this project.