Slow Photography

Whilst most of Shelley’s Fine Art photographs take many hours to construct with careful
use of natural light, this image has taken the longest to create.

flowers in a silver vase montage
Flowers in a Silver Vase

In the 17th Century the Dutch Masters painted spectacular floral arrangements, which would include flowers that were never in season at the same time. It necessitated a painstaking process of creating small studies of the flowers as they bloomed with the final composition being painted when all these had been completed. Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621) was a supreme exponent of this style of painting, with elaborate arrangements often being painted on copper.

This picture is an homage to Bosschaert.

This image took more than 36 months to come to fruition. Each component was photographed independently, starting with the snowdrops in February 2015 and ending with the snail in May 2016. The photograph of each flower was then placed in the arrangement creating a bouquet, which could never actually exist in reality. Every photograph was planned in great detail ensuring the size of each flower was accurate in relation to the others and the vase that held it. 54 layers have been used to create the final image, with each element requiring many hours’ work. The multiple shoots and the extensive editing resulted in over 240 hours being dedicated to this one piece so far.

Through the window is a photograph Shelley made some years ago of the Orford Ness Lighthouse. Sadly coastal erosion has meant this iconic structure had to be demolished in 2021. The flower arrangment speaks of the seasons while the background represents longer term changes in the Earth’s climate.

This version has been shown at Art Fair East, Norwich in 2021 and at the Aldeburgh Gallery in 2022.
© Shelley N Nott 2021