Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flowers, festivals and photographs

click photo to enlarge
Today's photograph shows a small part of a flower display in the church of St Botolph, Boston. This great church, begun in 1309, is celebrating its 700th anniversary, and one of the many activities it has arranged for this significant year is a large flower festival that is currently open to the public. The idea of flower festivals is that members of the church erect a series of themed displays around the interior of the building, using mainly fresh flowers and foliage, but also dried flowers and objects that support the theme. St Botolph's seventy six displays have been conceived by members of the church, but also by groups in the town and from across Lincolnshire. This has resulted in the standard of displays being better than I've ever seen before.

The themes are very varied: "John Cotton", "The Pilgrim Fathers", and "John Taverner" are representative of famous people associated with the church, whilst "The Slodgers", " The Fishing Industry", "Boston Landscape", "700 Years of Church Music" and "Local Commerce - Vegetable Growers" are typical of those that illustrate local life. I found the most eyecatching display to be "Agriculture - The Lincolnshire Way of Life", built around an old tractor that was positioned in the nave. However, the most artistically satisfying - and this kind of work can be considered decorative art of a kind - were "Fogarty's Feathers", a display in black, white and silver illustrating the industry devoted to pillows and duvets that is still found locally, and the very original "History of the Fire Service". The latter display was about a subject I've seen covered before by flower festivals, but never so well. It included artefacts - old firemen's helmets etc., and large displays that suggested the flames of fires. However, the part that caught my eye was this small composition on the aisle floor, using a picture frame, burnt photographs, fiery, smoke-blackened tulips and pieces of net.

It was, to my eye, the best detail of the much larger piece, in terms of both colour and conception, so I decided to isolate it, and try to make something of the composition against the lighter floorboards with their interesting grain. The final image has had the digital equivalent of selective "dodging" and "burning" (quite appropriate you might say!) to increase the contrast between the lighter and darker parts of the image. I've taken photographs at a few flower festivals, but as far as I can recall, have never used any in this blog. However, my visit to St Botolph produced two, so another will follow tomorrow.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 22mm (44mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/4 seconds
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On