Flowers are as individual as people. Each one holds itself differently: some are naturally elegant and will almost always make a pleasing photograph, while others are resolutely unyielding—or perhaps I have just not found a way to see them yet.
It may be a matter of waiting for the right moment, which can take many days or even weeks. Snake’s head fritillaries, for example, were difficult to photograph because of the dark tones of the chequered pattern and the way they block out the light. It was not until eight days later, when the petals had started to curl and shrivel that a different aesthetic presented itself: each flower was dying in its own way and appearing to echo the human form in a graceful or an awkward pose.
Sometimes a photograph surprises one by creating something new. A multi-coloured, multi-layered orange tulip, luxuriant in its many-petalled splendour, becomes an abstract of colours in a two-dimensional photograph. Or a spray of freesias becomes a pyramid of forms and colours that somehow evoke the particular structure of the flowers.
It’s a matter of looking for the special moment, for the conjunction of light, colour, and form that go to make up a good photograph. If it’s not in the shot, no amount of tweaking can make a photograph work. I shoot using natural daylight, without flash or any studio paraphernalia apart from a tripod for the sometimes long exposures.