It has been said that flowers are Mother Nature’s fireworks. The same can be said for lightning, but we prefer the serenity flowers as photographic subjects.
It is also said that we look but we do not see. We believe this to be true particularly with flowers. A passing glance reveals brilliant colors, shapes as diverse as nature herself, and movement in outdoor environments. But, when we take the time to examine a single bloom, texture, structure, and the individuality of each bloom is seen, perhaps for the first time. The inherent distractions of backgrounds in natural environments can hamper appreciation for what can be seen with careful observation. For that reason we photograph our subjects mostly in studio. By removing all distractions, focus is directed to the intricacies of the flower.
Our process begins with locating the flowers we want to photograph. Some we grow, others we find in public spaces, and others we purchase. Each flower has its own personality and characteristics. Based on our observations and our initial vision, we endeavor to arrange the blooms to convey a feeling of movement. For our studio work we use black backgrounds. Black backgrounds create the most contrast with the bloom and eliminate distractions that are present in natural environments. We use a technique called light painting to illuminate our subjects. LED flashlights are used to project pure white light from different directions. Flashlight technique is critical. Intensity, duration, and direction all impact the final image. The camera is on a tripod and cannot move as multiple exposures are taken. With each exposure light is projected from a different direction. As many as 50 exposures are taken.
These exposures are immediately loaded onto a computer for review. We then select from three to fifteen exposures, again, each with different lighting, for a process called layering. In Photoshop the selected images are stacked like a deck of cards. The number of exposures and the stacking order are altered until we either achieve the desired effect or we determine that we need to re-shoot the sequence. We may go through many iterations before we achieve what we initially envisioned, or something totally unexpected happens! Once we have a final image, we remove any supporting structure that was used to support the flowers during shooting. We make adjustments in Photoshop to compensate for the camera's inability to completely capture what was observed during shooting. The application of pure white LED light in a darkened room brings out colors, textures and depth not normally observed in nature. Our waterlily images are shot in place in natural light using traditional photographic techniques. It is obviously impossible to move waterlilies to our studio. These images are single exposures.
We print our small matted prints in house on metallic photopaper. Our larger display pieces are infused onto metal by a professional lab under our direction and control. They can be displayed either framed or unframed. We do our own framing which allows us to offer these pieces at attractive pricing when compared to retail frame shops. Unframed pieces are shipped directly from the lab with either a float mount or an exhibit mount depending on size. Exhibit mounts are available with either a French cleat or wire for hanging.
We also offer traditional framing under glass or acrylic. These pieces are all special order only, although we usually have a sample in our booth at shows. We also offer prints on either metallic or matte paper for framing by the client. Sizes up to 40 x 60 or 40 x 40 are available.
So, the images you see at an art show or on our website are compositions involving discovery, sculpture, engineering, lighting, photography, computer based editing and printing on carefully sourced materials. While our work is based on our original photographs, our images have been manipulated beyond what could be achieved in a traditional dark room using film. For that reason we have jumped into the realm digital art and welcome all its artistic possibilities. “Bella Fiore” is Italian for Beautiful Flower. We hope you agree. If not, thanks for stopping by anyway.