Immersed, even marinated in plants and gardens as I was as a child I did not, however chose to follow the garden path to my career. Sometimes its just better to keep your passion for ‘playtime’ rather than ‘worktime’. The next love of my life emerged as an adolescent and blossomed in my early twenties at art school in England. I had decided to make photography my career.
The first thing they teach you is to ‘stop being a bloody amateur’, ‘don’t just make copies of what’s already there’, ‘CREATE, EXPRESS YOURSELF and MAKE pictures happen’. And so under the skillful tutelage of Reg St Clair and others I became a photographer (a proper one – a professional).
But when it came to subject matter, old instincts die hard. Still life I found to be very enjoyable if not challenging, with the extraordinary attention to detail required for imagery under the microscope of a large format camera.
So what does a poor art student do to find a subject when the cost of hiring pretty human models was just way past my budget? Go to the greengrocer. But then there came all the explanations of why I had to have a visually perfect piece of fruit or vegetable.
‘But you’re gonna eat it mate, waassrong wiv a little blemish here or there?’
But if you poke around long enough you’ll find the best example in the store and, yes I did find the perfect leek and I ‘made’ a photo, I ‘expressed myself’ and I won the monthly prize for ‘creativity’.
I took this a long time ago, probably on Kodachrome64, on a Sinar 5×4 camera using Broncolor flash. It took me around 6 hours of painstaking tweaking. I liked it then and I’d like to share it with you now.
Author: Bob Saunders (www.gardensonline.com.au)