Sometimes I turn in a submission to LENSCULTURE (www.lensculture.com) and also ask for a review. The flower portrait series creation accidentally was just finished, when LENSCULTURE had their portrait competition open for submissions. So I turned it in. I can really recommend it and for those, who want to know, here is what I received:
I think the thing that attracted me to this portfolio was the visual celebration of colors! This idea is so unique! I have seen it in painting and photography, but you have found a completely new approach. Your human model appears to be a living mannequin, with all skin tones, hair, and clothing colors replaced by a minimalist white treatment. Your work reimagines a fusion of human and flora. Your ideas is to, “combine portrait photography with flower elements. A combination of flowers with portraits is not new. It can be found multiple times during different phases of art history.” You put a new twist on portraiture, by arranging, “the flowers in a fashion style and intensifying their significance by reducing it for the rest of the image. White hair, white make up and white garments blend with the white background, directing full focus on the flowers. In some images it looks as if the blossoms are floating and disconnect from the rest, although being clearly a part of it.”
“Flower Portraits” is fashionable and fun! There is playfulness communicated by the facial expressions. “The message of the series is to point the viewer’s attention to the beauty of nature.” Of course, nature is an important element in the photos, but I think I would like to see even more! As a suggestion of where to go from here, I suggest incorporating more flowers into the compositions. I think that too much of a good thing could be a great thing! Look at the photography or Morgan Barrie. Her floral compositions could inspire you!
Your square cropping emphasizes the closeness of the portrait and the white atmosphere. You bring us close to the person and the flowers. I can even sense the scents of the flowers coming from the scenes. Your photography has the rare quality of being able to communicate something about the sense of sight, beyond the visual. Maybe because there are visual clues that inform the other senses?
Your photos tell us about an imaginary character. She becomes a performer in the scenes. Viewers have the freedom to be who they want to be in front of this joyful performer. Your photos show how connected this character is to natural world and the beauty of the natural world. She is like the Goddess of flowers!
The photos are about celebration, but they are also about color. These compositions explode with color! There is a fusion of a spectrum of vibrant colors on a white canvas. These images dance with color! Color helps communicate a sense of joy and the feeling of being part of these photographic events. We, as viewers, are looking through your eyes and feeling a small part of what you experienced while photographing these scenes. You are teaching us and sharing with us your experience while photographing. We are seeing momentary fragments, frozen instants, which no other person saw from your perspective. These are a gift you offer your viewers.
The flowers in the scenes become body ornamentation. Like you say, “Flower blossoms are used in the images where otherwise man-made fabric or garment would be used. So a direct comparison is indicated, although the fabric is not shown and the comparison needs to happen in the viewer’s head.” Instead of fabric ornamented by floral patterns, you use the real thing! Real flowers bring the portrait to life in a way that fabric could never succeed.
As part of your entry, you ask, “I would like to know, if the idea and execution fits the purpose and conveys the message?” I think the message here talks about the intimate connections we have with nature, in a light-hearted, fun way. They could also talk about fashion and the ways we ornament the human body. Humans have used paint, mud, shiny objects, tattoos, colors, scars, hats, and clothing to enhance the attractiveness of the body. Flowers are attractive, they lure the eye with their seductive colors and scents. They could also be understood in this way.
My advice is to branch out with these photos. Let them be part of your photographic evolution on your ideas about nature. If you have self-doubt about whether the photos could make it into juried exhibitions or could win awards, try to not listen to that voice. Instead, go out and make more photos and enter more juried shows! You have talent and the ability to communicate your ideas. The more you make your ideas real, the more that talent and ability will improve. I have no doubt that there are people who love your photography!
Thank you for submitting your work to this Lens Culture juried exhibition! I enjoyed seeing your photographs and learning about your ideas and your vision. Even if you didn’t win a prize, you got a review from someone who really enjoyed your portfolio…and hopefully that is a prize in its own way!