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Latest Flower Boxes Attempt
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Boxes of Flowers

Not sure when I started photographing dead flower petals in boxes. I've collected boxes most of my life, have had beautiful wood cigar boxes for decades, and I pick up various sized others at flea markets and Goodwill stores or garage and estate sales. They're cheap and often beautiful, and I am very picky. When flowers let go of their petals, I probably needed someplace to put them, and with all these boxes around, why not.

So it was a natural progression to put flowers and their petals in the boxes, notice how beautiful they were in there, do it again next time I had petals, and somewhere along the way start photographing them in there. I was already photographing the flowers as they grew, then died, then fell apart. The only way these are any different, really, is that they are in boxes.

White Daisy Open Book - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Open Daisy Book   October 23 2011

We were at a thrift store, and Anna picked up this lovely, round-top wood box with what looks like inlaid panels of what I first thought were flowers, though upon further inspection saw they were butterflies, plants, birds and fishes from among the knick-knack shelves in the back of the store. I was jealous , but I didn't say anything. She bought it, then when I got her home, she handed me the bag of it.

I bought that brilliant red piece of folded cloth at a fabric store where I was looking for couch covers. Just a 17.5 x 22-inch piece of soft but intense color. I wanted it for the background of a flower pic. I'd used other deep color fabrics including a blue stadium seat and a pouch from the place that resurrected some hard drives.

The flowers were Anna for my birthday a month ago. As I do with all my flowers, I saved them to see how they'd change.

I photographed the white and orange daisies on the far corner of my office desk, with another box under it, so I could get closer with my camera on a tripod that doesn't adjust well. That added the dark shadow depth, too. I think there's something of the ethereal in dead flowers, and this view of this box makes it look like a book, about the aftermath of daisies.

It's a quantum jump from all those more interesting flowers in plain boxes, but I'm too close to know that. If it were by some artist I'd been following, I could guess, but I just wonder if I could get it printed well.

The next couple were the first ones I thought well enough of as art that I entered them into a competitive exhibition, the Hecho en Dallas (Made in Dallas) show at the Latino Culture Center in the spring of 2011. 

Stargazers Treasure final - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stargazers Treasure   January 27 2011

I shot this with my Canon S90 "Enthusiasts" camera with a sensor about the size of my littlest fingernail, and it's still slightly larger than the size of most point & shoot cameras. The image is actually a little more square than it appears here (and on my wall).

I wanted them to be the same size, that they'd look better as a matched set. What I didn't count on was that when they were hung one on top of the other, they seemed to bounce, because the outlines of the boxes were not parallel in any way. That startled me, and I wondered why anybody would hang them that way. But those who mentioned it thought they were dynamic.

Treasure II - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Treasure II  

This one was shot with my Nikon D300 dSLR with its 8.7 times larger sensor. I had hoped, after they were printed, to learn whether there was any visible difference between them.

But whoever printed it made this one way too dark, losing the remarkable color contrast and color brightness visible in these yellow and orange daisy petals among the dark purple Stargazers, which were rendered so dark, you could barely discern them from the black in the bottom of the box. Unlike that print, this is a smaller version of the original in all its careful brightness.

It looked almost about good enough under a lot of light at the Latino Culture Center, but I was riding the delivery deadline hard and getting them printed too late to get them redone. Looking up at it without a light shining on it it looks like a pile of elderly spaghetti. So the visual differences, if are were any, are minimal. It looks more like a smudge than a photograph of vibrant flowers.

It seems like every large print I've got made at either of my usual print houses has been seriously uncontrasty and unbright. I may have to find a different process. Or print them shiny and smaller.

I used to print my own for shows, but I have wanted larger prints, and those are expensive to have someone else make them — even badly, and extraordinarily expensive to print myself, because then I'd need a very large and very printer, and I don't print often enough to keep the ink fresh.. 

These next few are out of chronological order (the newest on top) as above, but do show some of the variety I pushed into my petals in a box routine after the two just above and before the Open Daisy Book well above (on top as I write this, though I expect to keep at it, and keep at making them better and different.

Box - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Box of Yellow Daisy Parts   September 6 2011

I'd put the BOX label on the inside of this box a long time ago. Not sure why, though it seems to add a bit of something besides yellow and yellow-brown to both the box itself and the flowers parts, which came later. In a way I never consciously considered its open-book look led visually directly to the Open Daisy Book.

Elderly Stargazers - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Elderly Stargazer Petals und Stammen in a Box   September 5 2011

I like smaller boxes and larger payloads of flower stuff. And more dynamic tonal ranges, and stuff coming out at the seams, so everything is not rendered neat and prim.

Three Disheveled Daisies - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Disheveling Daisies in a Box

They are, of course, the exact same age, but they appear to be at slightly differing levels of dishevelment, probably because I touched or held them differently. Or something. It would have been really wrong, if I'd lined them up in order of dishevelment. So I didn't. I like the variety.

First Disheveling Daisy - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First Disheveling Daisy

I like that the box here is almost subtle, not a major character in this play of shape, color and texture.

Oh, and the other part is that there's always a fragrance, especially in the boxes that close tightly, but something of the smell of flowers in every box, held there far longer than life flowers. It's like dead flowers last nearly forever, and lives ones sometimes just a few days.
 

Latest Dead-Flower-in-Box Attempt

Dead White Daisy On Box - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dead White Daisy on Box   October 30 2011

The flower still looks a little green, and I don't know why the stem looks like its saturated in white glop, except it is saturated with something white I have never seen on one of my dead flowers before. The top of the stem, right before it goes up to the flower, looks normal.

The flower is a little scraggly anyway, but I thought it might be a good candidate for a flower in a box. Until I actually tried it. After I photographed it a couple times, I came up with this.

I like the shadows and the gnarly leaves, but not the white-coated stem. I like the blue in the background, although it started out as the same background red as in the Open Daisy Book, or whatever I'm calling that one now. I love the color of the wood, and especially the color of the shadow in the bottom of the box. I even like the color of the shaded hinges. I usually do not appreciate it when light glares from those hinges, but it keeps happening. I calmed it down in the Open Daisy Book one, and I may try that again. Eventually, I might even get better at that.

I did not use my big tungsten bulb on this one, instead relying on the so-called Daylight fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling fan fixture in my office.

So far, I'd call this one an unsuccessful attempt, but I might use the same blossom in that same pose, and maybe that same box again, but light it differently.

And meanwhile, there are two, pretty messed up, desiccated and a little shriveled, orange daisy blossoms face down and into the vase, where they were when they were still alive along with three Calla Lilies, in even worse shape (no color) hanging off that same vase.

And on a shelf not far away are the comparatively huge dead, desiccated and browned over Some Other Kind Of flowers till in their plastic carton. They are magnificent, and now that I've noticed that (although I've had a passing acknowledgement of those facts for at least a couple weeks), it might finally be time to attempt to photograph those in a box. If I have a big enough box.

Dead White Daisy On A Box - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dead White Daisy On A Box

And here's that same once-photographed-kinda-greenish blossom on top of a box, which is what I tried after I shot it in the box. I think this is a much more successful shot, but it's not in a box, and I don't want to change the title of the series. Yet.

And now it's bluish or probably more accurately, a little cyanish.

  since October 18 2011