Flowers for All Occasions

For this series, I photographed flower arrangements for sale in front of bodegas and small groceries in New York City. The flowers are cultivated all over the world, shipped to New York and sold in every neighborhood. An exotic, impossible garden in full bloom all year.

In this work, I have two primary interests: one is to reveal a commonplace scene as visually exciting and even uncanny, the other is to flatten the symbolic space between the natural and un-natural, beautiful and profane, object and commodity.

Standing before a display of cut flowers, it is natural to see the flowers as separate from the cellophane and price tags surrounding them. But the camera equalizes the visual field, and within the photograph all of the qualities of the flower arrangements (both natural and unnatural) are equally important. Price tags and patterned plastic pepper the work, distancing it from still life and drawing it toward documentary or street photography. Suddenly, with the click of the shutter, mundane materials become part of the aesthetic rhythm of an uncommon image.

I am excited by the graphic and thematic diversity I have been able to create within a limited subject and process. All of the work is shot from a distance of approximately one meter, with natural light, on color film and printed in a darkroom. Some of the images create an alien landscape, while others build a still life from familiar themes.

All of the photographs in this series are 16″x20″ C-prints. Printed at International Center of Photography in 2011 and 2012.