When I was in college I was obsessed with the paintings of Neil Welliver and I remember that frisson of pure pleasure when I stood before one in a gallery in New York. They were these immense landscapes which were a kaleidoscope of light and shadow, so easy to lose onself in, and I did.
When it comes to beaches, I prefer to live them, to see them and taste them and curl my toes in their sands, but forests I rather like viewing them from the safety of a canvas where I do not need to worry myself about what lies in the underbrush. I always say you are either beach or forest, and I am clearly the former, except perhaps in my artistic tastes.
I enjoyed watching Game of Thrones and other movies of their ilk within which nature is not only a backdrop but a living thing not for plot but for the forest scenes. (That scene of Bella and Edward flying through the forest was memorable.)
Flowers, however, are different. Like children, they hold within an unlimited complex beauty housed in a finite, pure form. One perfect flower is, in my mind, far superior to a lifetime’s worth of traditionally arranged bouquets (I admit that I had to throw out the flowers I received once because of the cloying scent of the blooms which made me feel I was held captive in a church funeral). A clutch of wildflowers, a gathering of Queen Anne’s lace still grasping to the dirt on its spicy roots…these are the things that make me swoon.
But like a sunset or the red dye of a ripe pomegranate, the colors of some flowers just give one pause. They are humbling in their beauty, frightening almost, evidence, in my mind anyway, that there is more, so much more behind what we can see.
This is the reaction I had when I saw the images created by David Leaser. I have not seen them in person, but I would love to, and if I had an few extra thousand and a large blank wall (neither of which I do) I would surely buy one and love it forever and ever. They are that magical.
Truly one could not dream up a flower like the one above. Indeed he says he was inspired by the small flowers he came across scattered about the floor of the Ecuadorean rainforest: “You can see complete ecosystems in these flowers if you look closely enough.” They hold stories, these flowers, and to display them he had to design a whole new photographic technology, based on one used by NASA on Mars.
This last one not only highlights the beauty of the flower, but it becomes in the viewer’s eye either a moon, or a curled up infant, or perhaps something very different. It is lovely, though, and I will leave you with its image. You can visit the full online gallery of these images, here.