Optically distorted flowers in the spring garden
This pictorialist botanical photographic project was cross-germinated from two distinct inspirations.
I also love Andre Kertesz’ 1933 numbered series of black and white nude studies, “Distortions”. He photographed two models reflected in warped “fun house” mirrors that exaggerated and distorted their features, in some shots rendering them almost unrecognizably abstract, very much fitting in with the then-popular Surrealist movement.
If I photographed flower subjects reflected in a curved mirror, could I mold them into the idealized shapes I had in mind? And where to get such flexible mirror-like sheet?
To find out we must make a trip to Amazon!
Shortly I received some silvered adhesive plastic sheet on a roll for a few dollars. It is highly reflective, but has a mottled texture along with some subtle scratching from the manufacturing process. It’s tricky to unroll and hold in shapes I want, but I consider that to be a feature because this technique is all about embracing chaos and happy accidents. I never created the same distorted looks twice in succession.
Out in the sunny front garden, I unrolled a foot or two of the silverized sheet. It’s very thin — like tin foil — and only vaguely holds its shape. I tried a few ways to shoot with it, like allowing it to simply lean against neighboring plants then sighting through my camera and shooting the reflected image.
Louise also helped me by holding the silver sheet still while I roamed about with my camera and found suitable angles to shoot from. The sheet buckles and warps and fights all attempts to hold it straight.
It’s a wrestling match between the artist/assistant and the reflector, but in the end creativity and art won.
Camera: Pentax K-3, with a DA* 55 f/1.4 lens at f/16. Processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.