Actually, there is but one Dahlia represented among these 76 plates. Whereas the genus Passiflora is disproportionately featured with 13 different species.
If one is looking for a book about identifying different flowers, this is not the book for you. If, on the other hand, one is looking for a picture book celebrating the singular beauty, pattern, color, and structure of certain particular flowers that have appealed to this photographer over the years, then keep reading (and looking).
What do I know about flowers? Very little it turns out. Neither botonist nor horticulturist, I’m not even a florist, but as a photographer, I do know what “catches my eye,” excites me, and/or stimulates me enough to do the work required.
As a photographer, it has always been my belief that if the imagery is powerful enough, any accompanying text is redundant, unnecessary, or distracting. But how many books does one see these days, besides exhibition catalogues or monographs that exclude all text? Besides that, when I see a photography book that interests me (not too often), obviously the pictures come first, but there is always the question of who is this photographer and how did they arrive at this point.
By now the reader must be getting some sense that this book is more about the photographer than the photographs, so if my words are not directly related to the pictures, at least one will come away with a fair understanding of my philosophy of photography.
Even in college, my thesis was about the subjectivity of perception so for quite some time it has been my feeling that we all “see” (perceive) differently. In graduate school (Rhode Island School of Design, 1966-1968) while reading THE DAYBOOKS OF EDWARD WESTON, my greatest influence, I very much resonated with his stated desire “to reveal the essence of the thing” and “to perceive more clearly than the eye can see.”
Taking the time for close observation, my subjects often reveal themselves in wonderous ways. As a kind of “visual organizer,” I also closely identify myself with Weston’s contention that “composition is the strongest way of seeing.”
Whether sheer escapism from modern alienation, flower pornography (as one friend has suggested), or simply an album of close encounters of the floral kind, here is an offering of my best flower images.
One of my teachers (Minor White, 1908-1976) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966, taught us that if you can quiet yourself down enough to make a connection with the subject, and everything else is just right, the resulting photograph can be therapeutic; that is my g o a l . < b r > < b r > < b r > � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
Photographically, at least in terms of equipment, I am a dinosaur. The 35mm camera I use (Leicaflex SL-2) hasn’t been made for 30 years. For all close-up and macro work the 60 mm lens (usually with 2x-extender) is utilized. Other Leitz lenses include 21, 35, 90, and 250 mm. Whenever feasible a tripod is used so the longer exposures, necessitated by closing the lens down (f/l6) for maximum depth of field, are usually not a problem unless the wind is blowing.
All work is by natural light; no flash, no filters. For the most part this is table-top photography (I often use a trash can or improvise with whatever is at hand).
A cut bloom (yes! as one incredulous grower exclaimed, I work with dead flowers) is turned every-which-way with one eye shut so as to more closely replicate the camera’s mono-vision and then carefully placed on black velvateen or some natural form (coral, piece of bark, etc.) spray painted matte black. This is then positioned in most instances so my subject is back lit, thereby standing out from the background.
Transparency film has been used for all except the Dahlia; originally working with Kodachrome and then whatever Ektachrome was considered “in.”
Film and slides are digitized using a dedicated film scanner (Nikon Cool-Scan 5000) and then printed (Epson 2200) via Photoshop.
Generally, I consider myself a “straight” photographer so any “enhancement” for the most part involves additional background reduction.
Of course all the usual admonitions and truisms apply: crop with your camera, bracket your exposures, try to develop an awareness of light (keeping in mind that sometimes better color saturation occurs in open shade or overcast conditions), work with one film long enough to become familiar with its characteristics, pay attention to what’s going on in the background, simplify whenever possible (less is more) and finally edit ruthlessly.
August 7, 2006
"Your book is simply amazing.
The photographs are just outstanding and the production quite good. You have elevated the most common species like Crown Vetch (The lowly highway erosion control 'weed') to glorious status. If the flower kingdom could take on the animal kingdom this is what it would look like. The passion portraits are voluptuous in ways Georgia O'Keefe could only dreamt of painting. Everyday specimens like mallow and marigold have been enlarged to miraculous close-up splendor.
Every gardener, every photographer will relish this book and pour over these pictures again and again."
- Sally Pfoutz, Writer -
"Only ThePictureGuy (the name conferred by our four year old daughter upon that phenomenon known as Warren Krupsaw) could comprise a book where his floral subjects seem to have posed just for him. For, it is in this book that floral life seems to take a sensual and striking attitude in an effort to please their photographer. Each page of this book contains an image that is not only crisp and perfect in detail (as expected) but is intriguing in its composition -- as if the flowers presented themselves at their most beautiful and the moment was captured forever."
- Mike Cable, Photographer -
"Warren Krupsaw offers a collection of garden artistry captured on film using time-honored methods honed as a young photographer and perfected during a long, rewarding career. Images are recorded on a tripod mounted 35mm camera as a tonally-rich, compositionally rational and engaging subject, but this does not touch on the contemplative nature of each inspired portrait. Natural light indeed moves the eye around complex detail and form, revealing the architecture of nature via Warren's elegant fine art photographs.
From the musical splay of Virginia Waterleaf, tonal delicacy of Star Flower, to the fireworks of Passiflorae, our eyes feast upon this offering of Portraits of Passion and Other Dalliances. We marvel..."
-Wanda Remington, Artist and Art Critic-
"At the turning of every page, I think I have identified my very favorite -- then I see the next one. You have really created a collection of Beauty (capital "B")."
-Barbara Chapman, Therapist-
"Congratulations on the publication of this wonder-full book of horterotica. I find a consciousness in the photos that could be called Japanese -- the intense focus on essence that makes one see a familiar thing as utterly new and even unique. The book is a delight."
-Dennis C. Turner, Psychiatrist-
"I just wanted to let you know that 'Dalliances' finally arrived. Beautiful! I showed it to a friend the other day and he was amazed. How could he not be?"
-Thomas Bennett, Retired Financial Advisor-
"I have just found your beautiful b
One-time student (and house guest) of Ansel Adams, nature photographer Warren Krupsaw (born l942) earned his M.F.A. in photography under Harry Callahan at the Rhode Island school of Design (R.I.S.D.). He was also one of the first students in the graduate photography program at M. I. T. with Minor White at which time he photographed in Antarctica (1966) covering "Operation Deep Freeze."
Greatest influence has been the work and writing of Edward Weston with his concern: "to perceive more clearly than the eyes can see" and "to reveal the essence of the thing."
The photographer has exhibited his work at numerous venues including The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, The National Portrait Gallery, The National Academy of Sciences, The Corcoran Gallery of Art and New York City's Underground Gallery. His work has been favorably reviewed in THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE VILLAGE VOICE, while photographs have been published in several books including ON THE ICE, INVESTIGATING THE EARTH, and THE POLAROID BOOK. A few of the magazines his work has appeared in are: CAMERA, SMITHSONIAN, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY, MINERAL DIGEST, and GARDEN DESIGN. Some of the collections holding his work include The Library of Congress, Harvard, M.I.T., R.I.S.D., George Eastman House, the Scott Polar Research Institute of England and the National Museum of Canada.
Over the years the photographer has traveled parts of the U.S. including Hawaii (especially the southwest) and eastern Canada, Costa Rica, Madagascar, New Zealand, Japan, Western Europe, Scandinavia, The Galapagos, Antarctica (l987), The sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand & Australia , and Iceland (once in winter and once in summer). Most of the time, however, is spent locally involved with exploring the visual significance of the commonplace.