Sometimes simple is best. I worked hard to achieve simplicity in these images of Bamboo, cut from a variegated plant around the corner from where I live.

It is well-known in the neighborhood that I wander with pruning shears looking for likely subjects, and some folks have given me explicit permission to “harvest” anything I fancy for photographic purposes. I assumed permission with the Bamboo hedges growing wild between the sidewalk and the street!

Variegated Bamboo

Clearly, simplicity does not mean without artifice. The process of building up the bamboo for photography was labor intensive—and somewhat painful in a literal sense. Post-production work and the creation of the Japanese-style backgrounds also took some effort.

I like to quote the American poet Randall Jarrell: “Art being bartender is never drunk.” The pains that this work took me, and the cuts the bamboo inflicted on my hands, should all be irrelevant, or even unknown, to those who view the images. Even though the cuts were impressive to my kids.

Of course, I had a great deal of fun creating these pieces. I’m also enjoying the control I have over the final look of my images these days. I truly feel in command of my craft.

But to write about the difficulties of creation along with the statement that people shouldn’t really be aware of these difficulties—they should lose themselves in the apparent simplicity of the work itself—is a kind of act of self-referential post-modernist absurdity. Well, I guess I’m entitled to a bit of that, too, as long as I keep it within reasonable limits!

Bamboo 2

Related recent stories: Glass Spiral; Scabiosa Pods and Ferns; HDR is technique, not style.

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