Peonies mon amour

At this time of year some flowers are too special not to photograph. In that spirit, I’ve been having a great time the last few days photographing peonies. These flowers are unabashedly sensuous and over-the-top. Associated with healing in classical Greece, in Japan peonies became common on tattoos, along with koi fish, lions, and dragons—partially thanks to the illustrations of ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1862). In this context, peonies became associated as a symbol with hyper-masculinity and a disregard for consequences—which seems to me to be all wrong!

Peonies mon amour by Harold Davis

Peonies mon amour © Harold Davis

To create this image, I shot the peonies on a lightbox and combined five exposures using hand-layering (hand-HDR) in Photoshop.

My idea was to present the images as something like an old-fashioned botanical illustration, but created photographically. To enhance this look, I added a scanned background and a texture to the version of the flowers on white.

To print the Peonies mon amour image, I used Moenkopi Washi Unryu, which adds an exciting textural effect to the image and makes for a very interesting graphic.

Peonies on Moenkopi Unryu by Harold Davis

Peonies on Unryu © Harold Davis


Odds and ends: You may have tried to reach this blog over the past few weeks and not been able to! Sorry about that. The problem was that I’ve been getting a great deal of traffic—which is mostly good news for me, but not when my webhost shuts me down without notice because I have too many readers. So I’ve migrated to WPEngine, a site that manages WordPress blogs in a scalable way, and promises never to shut me down because I am popular!

This entry was posted in Flowers, Photography.

One Comment

  1. Harold Davis May 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Speaking of tattoos, check out this story about one of my cherry blossom images used as a tattoo!

7 Trackbacks

  1. By Inspiration is a harsh mistress on June 8, 2012 at 10:16 am

    […] Peonies mon amour […]

  2. By Pretty Peonies on Unryu on June 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

    […] Peonies mon amour, this image makes a great print on Moenkopi Unryu washi! I hate it when Peony season is over. […]

  3. By Red Poppies on June 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    […] art that benefits the San Francisco Botanical Society. Here are my images of peonies and irises that will also be in the show. This entry was posted in Flowers, HDR, Photography, […]

  4. By Purple Dahlias on July 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    […] it to look a bit like a botanical illustration as well as a photo—and thus to accompany Peonies mon amour, Red Poppies, Easter Lilies, Dahlias, and Gaillardia, and White Irises (among others!). This […]

  5. By Botanicals Fine Art Photography Exhibition on August 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

    […] excited about having my large botanical Washi prints in the Botanicals group exhibition at PHOTO in Oakland. The exhibit runs from August 23 through […]

  6. By Blue Irises for Simplicity on March 8, 2015 at 11:08 am

    […] I photographed these beautiful blue irises for simplicity of composition on a light box, then in Photoshop added the background and light texture I used with Peonies mon amour. […]

  7. By Peonies mon Amour on Washi on November 8, 2019 at 10:57 am

    […] image shows a version of my 2012 Peonies mon Amour, one of my most popular botanical images, as printed on simulated Awagami Unryu washi, distributed […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *