Sunday, February 03, 2008

The beauty of flowers

click photo to enlarge
Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding.
Marc Chagall (1889-1985) Russian-born French painter

I've always admired this quotation - in fact I've used it before - because it not only shows the humility of a great artist like Chagall, but it also embodies two truths: one about flowers and another about art.

It's no accident that when a person's bodily needs have been met he turns outwards from himself and gazes upon the world. Mankind has an innate desire to make sense of creation, and to find the deeper truths that we feel lie hidden within. Religions provide the answers for some. For others it can be science, philosophy or art. And for many it's gardening! And I say that not entirely in jest. When Monet had done with painting landscapes, allegories and nudes, he found that his garden provided the inspiration for his greatest works. The beauty of nature - and flowers in particular - is difficult to surpass, though it's certainly a worthy objective for any artist to try to do so.

These cyclamen live on my kitchen window sill. They have provided interest and beauty for the past several months, and I shall be sorry to see the flowers disappear. Mindful of John Keats' words in the poem "Endymion", "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever", I took them down, and arranged them against a dark backdrop to emphasise those lovely pink flowers. I took some shots using flash but this image taken with available light was the best of the bunch!

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f18
Shutter Speed: 1.0
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.3EV
Image Stabilisation: Off