I step outside the door.
Flowers jump out at me.
Good morning! Good morning! they cry.
I’m pretty sure this is code for ‘take my photo, pretty please’, so I stop, and oblige.
As I stop to take a photograph I try not to stop at taking a photograph.
I also admire them, encourage them, compliment them.
The flowers smile, broadly, in response.
I walk along the road, by the hedgerows of all delight.
The road sides are dotted with splashes of white, and it makes me glad to be seeing these flowers for the second time.
It makes me glad that I’ve got to know their name, and something about them, and to have written of how proud you’d be to walk with this flower in your buttonhole.
I bend down, pay attention, take some photographs.
It’s not so easy with these tiny flowers. They move, bend, flutter and dance in the wind. It’s delightful, but hard to get the focus.
They shine, bright, white, in the sunshine, and the sunshine makes it hard to get the contrast right. (Cloudy days and rainy days are often better. But then, the flowers do so love to sunbathe.)
Later, I look at the photographs on my laptop, and start to edit.
This part too is full of delight, noticing a pattern I hadn’t seen before, discovering a point of detail that is simply: astonishing, and wonderful.
Still, this is also the time where the difficult and more challenging parts of the creative process come into play.
Doubts and frustrations swing by. A whole series of impossible I wish desires run through my head.
I wish I knew how to create other-worldly flower portraits.
I wish I knew how to create an impressionistic effect.
I wish I had a better camera.
I wish I could paint.
I wish I knew more about the flowers, their names, their mythology, their symbolism.
I wish I could find a way to take a flower photograph that was good enough, match enough, representation enough of the flowers that dance with me, and delight me in the hedgerows.
And of course, I cannot.
Accepting this is part of the creative process.
(Yes, I know, it’s part of life.)
Accepting this requires me to think about why I take, and share, flower photographs.
I share them not to appear, to be thought of, to be spoken of, or to be: an artist, a photographer, or an ‘authority’ on flowers.
I simply want to try and share something of their gorgeousness, the way they dance and move in the wind, how they jump out from the hedgerows and show off in the sunshine.
I want to share this simple, everyday reminder that the earth is beautiful, and you are loved.
(I am not sure if this ambition is smaller, or bigger, than the others 😉 )
And I want to take photographs, myself, just for me, over and over again: because it’s the best way I’ve yet found to get to know the flowers, to communicate with the natural world, to feel close to home, connected, co-creating, delighting, loving, laughing.
The wishes I wish for are only about the way you might (if you wanted, and I’m not sure I do) create ‘products’ from the photographs.
They have nothing to do with the wishes I have for my relationship with the flowers, which is within my own hands, own heart, own eyes each and every time I step out of the door.
Creative doubt has never, ever, come close to diminishing my delight in the taking of the photographs, the moments of absorption, of noticing, of talking and connecting, of watching and laughing, of falling over, of getting stung, of getting mud soaked, and I trust it never will.
That relationship, that connection, that admiration and honouring are the only things that matter.
Whether or not the picture’s any ‘good’ is really neither here nor there. This is what I need to keep on learning as I learn to take imperfect photographs.
I step back outside the door.
The sun is shining.
The flowers jump out at me, all smiles, all delight, and ready to pose once more.