Flower Play – Dried Roses Still Life Studies

Dried Roses-Still Life Duo Antiqued

A couple of months ago while I was still in the throes of being sick,  my husband brought me the most beautiful roses. Once in a while he surprises me with a bouquet of seasonal blooms to brighten our table. But, these particular roses I thought were the prettiest I ever saw from a grocery store! But, at the time I couldn’t even drum up the energy to photograph them while they were dewy and fresh. As they dried up my husband asked several times if throwing them away might be best. No, I could see that even dried up they had such lovely shapes. And so I let them dry. Surgery came and went and now finally at nearly 5 weeks post op, I got around to taking some pictures of the neglected blooms.

Taking the pictures was a bit of a comedy of errors considering I spent such inordinate time arranging them in various ways, trimming the stems and putting them in various vessels I had on hand. I’ve taken pictures of flowers before inside with my tripod but something was not working for me in the way of focus in the dim light…which I wanted to facilitate a dark background with natural light on the flowers. Maybe it was the carpet, maybe the mirror, maybe my hand on the shutter release but I seemed to be spinning my wheels on the most basic things, like focus.  So I took some small dark tables outside on the patio to serve as backdrop and surface for the images where there was more light.  The vessel I decided on was a favourite pewter base with sea designs in it which normally has a clear vase insert, but it I found it better to just arrange the flowers in the base without the glass. And, you know, flowers being arranged… especially with a small breeze… do have a mind of their own. After all the patient neglect  I would put them one way and they would fall another, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but basically not being obedient or disciplined at all. But then, that’s me…just winging it and enjoying the pretty possibilities.

So these are studies in dried roses using textures, color filters, toning, and black & white conversions. I always mean to work on flowers more often and I hope you enjoy the Flower Play!! Your critique is always welcomed!!

Dried Roses - Still Life-Toned with Texture


Dried Roses-Still Life in Black and White

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”  
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  

―     Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,     The Little Prince    

~ by Judy on January 13, 2014.

8 Responses to “Flower Play – Dried Roses Still Life Studies”

  1. The first looks like an oil painting, and the third has good contrast. One would think pictures of dried-out flowers would be morbid, but that’s true only of the second photo, and I feel that’s due to the weaker contrast between the flowers and background.
    Can’t say I’d ever think to take pictures of dried-out flowers! 🙂

  2. I found as the flowers dried that I was liking the new parchment-like textures and the natural curl of the petals and droop of the blossoms and leaves. Something not morbid but with a rather somber and understated resignation. The bowed head of the top blossom in images 2 and 3 seemed to preside over the rest in a tender way. I couldn’t help but remember The Little Prince’s Rose which he learned was unique in all the world not because there were not other roses but because his care made his rose unique.

    I can only hope that when I am all dried up and my skin like parchment that I will wear it with some sense of elegance as the roses. (Is that morbid??)

  3. I’m so fond of the first photo. It truly is beautiful. I’ve kept roses a time or two myself, letting them nearly ossify before throwing them out. Of course, earlier generations often pressed flowers – I think I like yours rather more than something that’s been pressed.

    Of the other two, I much prefer the one with the light background.There’s a certain elegance to it, as well – the kind of sterling-brush-and-mirror set elegance common to an art nouveau dresssing table.

    What a delightful surprise – your birds are wonderful, but these are a real treat, as well.

    • Guess I am that generation..I never throw away a good love letter or pressed flowers!! But, I guess I like fluffy instead of flat as well. These flowers really have a cloth like texture and are not brittle as yet. Natural drying in Florida is probably different than in a drier climate.

      No one finds the right words like you do to describe things and your description of image 2 has the perfect sense to it. I think people do respond to warmth and image 1 was made to take advantage of limited color and light. And, texture for a richer, softer presence. I have not finished playing with these flowers yet…maybe will post others….

      I will say it is a good thing I don’t work at a flower arranging shop since turning the flower one way or another would make me a very slow worker.
      When I flip through the photo files in succession you can see the heads turn this way and that like an old time cartoon.

  4. The second photo, with the light background, that’s just perfect. The choice of vase could not be improved. In form it echoes the folds of the roses. Both b & w treatments make beautiful photos, but that lighter one, it has something more.

    • Oh, thanks for the comment. It is always helpful to have an understanding of what works and why for viewers as compared to what I might think as I work on images. It is certainly easy to be too close to a project to see its flaws. I imagine at times you have to wait a few days to re-read a favourite scene before a needed change hits!! Sometimes when I decide I hate a project and leave it for awhile, it looks better to me later.

      Thanks for the comment about the vase as I seem to particularly like that one.

      • Perhaps I ought to have given my reasons. It’s a composition of opposites – the sharp angles of the hanging heads, the softness of the faded blooms; the straight lines of the stems, the puffiness of the flowers. The light backdrop, echoing the tones of the vase, helps to hold it all together; makes it ‘all of a piece’. It appealed to me more than the colour photo, or the darker background.

  5. Ah, just beautiful! I love the quote you’ve added, too…. So lovely.

    That first image could be on a card, honestly. The solitary dying rose — still holding such beauty. It’s just wonderful.

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