Harold Davis—Best of 2023

I’m not sure what the right word for my 2023 year is, perhaps “whirlwind.” Family and personal issues kept me on my toes, and occupied a great deal of my time. Travel was diminished in the first half of the year. In the second half I visited Maine to teach again, and spent an extraordinary month in Japan.

I’ve been making my “personal choice” best-of selections for many years, going back to 2013. These annual selections can be found here. My choices are idiosyncratic, based on no discernible criteria whatsoever, and simply are my personal taste. These selections are by no means complete. A more thorough catalog of my work can be found on Flickr, Instagram, and on my blog (but many of my images never get blogged even if I like them).

2023 marks the tenth year of my personal best selections. A decade is a significant amount of time. Expect a “best of the best” selection coming soon, with one image from each of the years!

Here are my 2023 choices.

Orvieto Passage, below, squeaked into 2023, as it was photographed in November 2022 in Umbria, Italy, but I didn’t get a chance to process it until January. 

In the morning the fog was thick. I took advantage of the evocative lighting, and framed an ancient, cobblestone passage by looking (with my camera) through an arch. Read more.

Orvieto Passage © Harold Davis

I created a new garden on the shaded side of our house. This is a mostly ignored narrow strip between our house and the fence that separates us from the sidewalk on the San Ramon side. I anchored this “memorial garden” with three camellia bushes. Read more.

Topography of Camellia © Harold Davis

My flowers are like frilly Goddesses. But not in a fey way, or an overly cute way. The textures these blossoms provide could almost be fabrics or garments. The beauty I see in my viewfinder makes my heart pause, and regard the world with gladness despite the sadness that lingers. Read more.

Ranunculus © Harold Davis

I’m not really sure what the image signifies, although of course I have been thinking a great deal lately about life and death, and what it all means. Read more.

Life and Death © Harold Davis

I’ve been working with some wonderful colored Calla Lillies on my light box. Read more.

Garden Party © Harold Davis

Every time I think we’ve removed everything the house disgorges something new—this time a collection of small glass bottles, cowering in a corner. I used these bottles to anchor some flowers from my garden. Fantastic Iris and White Camellia were photographed with my 85mm tilt-shift macro on a white seamless background. Read more.

Fantastic Iris © Harold Davis
White Camellia © Harold Davis

How wonderful to be photographing flowers from my garden at this time of year when the world comes to life and all the colors glow and are so glorious! More.

Glory of the Garden © Harold Davis

With this image, I was pleased to see the form of the image follow (not function) but the name of the flower; you can see why the varietal was thought to resemble the butterfly. Speaking of which, it is good to think of butterflies rising in flight from the chrysalis, just like my website has been forged anew! Read more.

Butterfly Ranunculus © Harold Davis

I’ve stumbled into a new series of flower images. These images have in common the appearance of “artful randomness.”

They are supposed to seem casual and minimally arranged. But the fact is that I create these images from “the ground up” using both a scaffolding and an intermediate structural layer, so the appearance of randomness is just that—an appearance—and there is very little about these images that has been left to chance, whatever chance may be. Read more.

Butterfly Ranunculus and Friends © Harold Davis
Music of Irises and Poppies © Harold Davis
Falling Flowers © Harold Davis

I have been photographing some stunning white peonies. For this flower, the internal cluster is in a pretty unusual formation. Part of the idea of photographing this flower on the light box is to let the colors of the flowers I have arranged under the petals be refracted up into the image. Read more.

Peonies and Poppies © Harold Davis

Leica IIIc and Butterflies (below) is a composite photo that brings me back to my first photography. I used this camera in college to work fairly crudely in black and white.

Leica IIIc and Butterflies © Harold Davis

Putting together a composition Mandala (White) requires an almost Zen level of concentration, not to mention holding one’s breath and nimble fingers. Read more.

Mandala (White) © Harold Davis

I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of my 2023 photography journey, mostly said with flowers. This year has been not without challenges for myself and our family, but I always find it worthwhile to review what I’ve done artistically.

Most of my images are available as prints. If you are interested, please let me know.

Check out my self-selected bests from previous years in Best Images Annuals!

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