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Wednesday 27 March 2013

Talking about Flowers

It was Sacha's birthday on Monday and we had arranged a little dinner at my cottage. She was running late and asked me to collect my nephew Oslo from school. I had just come from Petals and had a beautiful bunch of orange roses on the back seat. I had told Oslo that I was not normally a fan of roses as I felt they are to rigid and that flowers should not be so serious. But as these were from last week, they had opened and softened and become, in my opinion, more lovely. A while later, Oslo said "Auntie Amanda, talk to me more about the flowers." So we did. Having just returned from an amazing workshop in Palm Springs with Kate Holt from Flowerwild, I had oh so much to say. 

With the new shop opening in just a few weeks, it was the perfect time for Nikki and I to expand our knowledge of flowers.
I had originally discovered Flowerwild through reading Jose Villa's blog. He is one of my favourite photographers, so upon seeing that he would be photographing Kate's workshop, I was ecstatic and told Nikki that we absolutely had to attend. So we made the long journey to Palm Springs and spent an intense few days with a wonderful group of talented women who were all equally as excited and eager to learn as we were.

Kate's passion for flowers is infectious and the way she handles and arranges them is so beautifully carefree, letting each bloom and branch breathe.

Kate made it look so easy; a snip of a stem here a pluck of a petal there et voila a stunning bouquet. I am still not totally sure how she did it, but perhaps in a few years and with much practice I will...

Ashley Fox (above) and Erin Benzakein (below) not only create beautiful floral designs, they are also growers. I have been trying to convince Nikki that we should start growing some flowers here. Talking with Ashley and Erin has convinced me further that a few fragile varieties that don't travel well would be just the things to plant. 

Kelly Perry (above) and Chelsie Perez (below) both created stunning bouquets. Kelly created her bouquet from a lovely combination of white, ivory and peach blooms and Chelsie chose a vivid palette and stronger flowers including these gorgeous lotus.

Ashley Bond and Elizabeth Durels came down from Vancouver. Elizabeth's background is graphic design, so it was great to not be the only fledgeling.

Even though Nikki started Petals almost ten years ago, she has always had trained floral designers creating all the bouquets and arrangements. This was the first time she had put a bouquet together and I have to say, it was amazing to see how beautifully it came together. She too was over the moon and started to cry...

Having seen all the flowers on the first day, I lay in bed that night and imagined which I'd choose and what my bouquet would look like. The lilac was just divine and tulips have always been my favourite flower. I watched all the others make their selections and then walked slowly around all the buckets. In the end, it was not the lilac or the tulips that drew me, but the freedom of the local grasses, the heather, the frittilaria, rannunculus and Japanese maple. But I was scared; the flowers were so perfect and I felt this strange combination of excitement and fear. I have always beed frightened of a blank canvas, yet somehow if I just start, and don't think or worry too much it all works out. At the time I was not really thrilled with it, it seemed too tight and symmetrical. But with a gentle shake it was better. So I wrapped the stems and tilted my head (as all artists do) to view the finished piece. Not too bad for a first effort, I think.

And this was the second bouquet that Kate created; I love the combination of the lotus and the Japanese maple.

The afternoon was spent shooting all the bouquets with models Jama and Vanessa, Mar from Team Hair & Make Up, Kate styling the sets and placing the bouquets and of course, José Villa photographing.
José shoots with film. Oh how I miss film, there is a softness that with digital is just not possible. Sadly, with no lab in Bermuda, it is not an option for me anymore. I can't wait to see Jose's magical images. 

Nikki and Kim Sanders helping José. Vanessa and Jama were reclined on a plethora of pillows surrounded by all the bouquets. I am sure José's shot from overhead will be stunning.

At the end of the day José, Mar, Vanessa, Jama and I drove to a spot that José had scouted the day before. José was keen to shoot the Reem Acra and Oscar de la Renta gowns outside in the dessert. It was beautiful, it was vast! The open space was divine, the sun had just dropped behind the mountains in the distance and the light was perfect.
I was happy...

Thank you to all of you. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, laugh with you and learn from you...

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Seeing the Light...

In the past I have preferred shooting little girls. They like to twirl and pose and say cheese. Their giggles make me smile and they seem to just love being in front of the camera. Boys on the other hand were a much greater challenge. But last week that changed. I had an amazing shoot with two wonderful boys. We laughed and they were silly and they did exactly as they were asked. 
So thank you Liz, Alex and Nicholas for such a fun afternoon and for showing me that boys can be just as fabulous to photograph as girls...

Friday 15 March 2013

Shelly Hamill's Lovely Ladies

While I was in Aspen in February, I photographed a few more of Shelly Hamill's mosaic sculptures. They are on display in several locations at the Dancing Bear Residences. It was interesting to see Shelly's pieces in an alternative location; they are also displayed throughout the Tucker's Point Hotel and I have photographed them there several times over the past few years. 
Shelly, it was a pleasure to see you and to photograph your wonderful sculptures again... I always really enjoy our shoots together...

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