Monthly Archives: July 2022

Household Magic

When you look at everyday, household objects with fresh eyes, it is possible to see their magic. For example, someone told me the image below (Jaws Inversion) looks like a leg-hold trap. Actually, in non-magical life this is my daughter’s hair clip with the spring clip tied open. 

Jaws Inversion © Harold Davis

In this case, the non-living object has been imbued with a spirit, although possibly one that borders on the black hat rather than the white. The kitchen mixing bowls in the two images below are much more neutral.

Mixing Bowls © Harold Davis

Nesting Bowls and a Nautilus Slice © Harold Davis

Nesting Bowls and a Nautilus Slice © Harold Davis

Sometimes a shadow adds depth and purpose to the ordinary object, as in the Egg Yolk Separator shown below and Egg Slicer.

Egg Yolk Separator © Harold Davis

Egg Slicer © Harold Davis

Finally, domestic subjects can reverse the process of objectification. This approaches anthropomorphization: In Alter Ego, below, a squash becomes a dinosaur with a mystery about its shadow.

Alter Ego © Harold Davis

Related stories: Nesting Bowls and a Nautilus Slice; Egg Yolk Separator; Egg Slicer; and Alter Ego.

Posted in Photography

When Georgia O’Keeffe Met Gertrude Stein

In my fantasy, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) traveled shortly after the first world war from Texas where she taught drawing to bored college students to New York to meet with her mentor and future husband, the photographer and gallerist Alfred Steiglitz (1864-1946). Steiglitz advised, “While you are an American original, your work needs the tapestry of historical confusion that only the old world can supply,” and provided her with letters of introduction, including one to writer and art collector Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).

Rose Is A © Harold Davis

Arriving in Paris, O’Keeffe, like so many other artists, beat a path to Stein’s duplex off the grand inner courtyard at 27 rue de Fleurus, in the 6th arrondissement a few blocks from the Luxembourg Garden. Stein, with her partner Alice B. Toklas, presided over a salon of lesbians, avant-garde artists and writers featuring the demimonde, bullfighters, macho bully boys like Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), and painters with an affinity for the bullfight like Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Stein was not particularly impressed with O’Keeffe, and vice versa.

Rose Study © Harold Davis

When O’Keeffe showed Stein her gentle watercolor with an intimate view of a rose, Stein famously declaimed, “A rose is a rose is a rose,” and dismissed the art and artist. O’Keeffe was through with Europe anyway, and found an early steamer back home. While she made many great paintings of flowers in the course of her magnificent career, she never again created an image of a rose. 

Related story: When is a Harold Davis rose a Georgia O’Keeffe?

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Dahlia Daze

As summer becomes full and the days of July rush by, the dahlias are in bloom. Each dalia is different, a unique world unto itself. Some of them remind me of deep sea creatures, strangely beached into the garden.

Do Flowers Come from the Sea? © Harold Davis

For me, the question with dahlias in their infinite variety and explosion of color is where to begin—and how can I ever stop photographing them?

Dahlia Daze © Harold Davis

Dahlias in a Tray © Harold Davis

Inversion: Do Flowers Come from the Sea? © Harold Davis

It seems there are many ways to create art with dahlias, starting with a photo (click here for a keyword search on my website). However you count the ways, I love them one and all! Dahlias have zest, and they give me zest for living.

Posted in Flowers, Photography


Artichokes are good to eat. They are a real treat. You peel the leaves to the “meat” inside, in a spiral motion that echoes the visual path in this great, big edible flower as shown from above. 

The artichoke is shown here photographed straight down on a velvet background with some side lighting to bring out the spiral pattern. I bracketed exposures, and started layering using hand-HDR with the darkest exposure. The resulting low-key layer stack approaches life from the opposite direction than my more typical high-key layer stack. Poppy Dancer is another example of this technique, with some explanatory and tutorial links at the end of the Poppy Dancer story.

Artichoke on Black © Harold Davis

The lens I used for this image was my Nikkor tilt-shift macro (to even out the plane of focus) at an effective aperture of f/64. 

An inversion of the artichoke image is shown below, created in LAB color in Photoshop by applying an Invert adjustment to the L-channel.

Artichoke Inversion © Harold Davis

Click here for another kind of image of a thistle flower—a very close relative to the artichoke.

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

Limited Edition Artist Book Botanique Sold

Star Magnolia Panorama © Harold Davis

We’re very pleased to have shipped #17 (out of 25) of the edition of Botanique to a collector in Ohio (thank you!). The photo below shows the display print of Red Poppies that comes as part of the presentation (click here to see a print of this image on exhibit in Frankfurt as part of Awagami’s demonstration of printing on washi).

Red Poppies print (Botanique presentation)

Click here to see a video of the Botanique pages. The current price for the edition is $1,950 (there are two left at this price). Click here for more information about the Botanique edition. Please contact us if you are interested in acquiring your own copy!

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Print of the Month