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!
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.
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!
- Check out my new Macro Flower Photography: A Tutorial on Focus Stacking, now up on Photo.net. You can click here to see more of my Photo.net articles and columns.