Ann my neighbour gifted me a potted bulb of Amaryllis belladonna. It was a farewell 2015 intimate food based Casa Ali gathering in my front room. Ann, Vojko my ex-flatmate, Franz my couch surfing guest et moi. Amidst hugs and laughter and anecdotes and reminisces, Ann brought out this decorative pot boxed with no nonsense instructions. A beautiful thoughtful gift marking the end of an year and welcoming the new.
I had once caught amaryllis growing wild in Cape Town, and in their sheer abundance turning an entire rocky mountain crimson. Where ever it is hot and humidity and the soil is well drained, they thrive. In England however, it shies away from the kisses of cold breeze and too much rain can rot their bulbs. As gardening comrades, neither Ann nor I had experienced growing amaryllis. It was a surprise at how, soon after receiving its first drops of life giving water, the bulb got busy shooting leaves. Buds were carried forth on stalks as high as 45cm.
Plants are all about sex and this was an exquisitely brazen display. I had to weigh the pot down with stones to keep it from tipping over. Practically each day the buds would swell under the pressure of their unstoppable youth. Using my hyper-real-image technique, developed recently for portraits of Mas(k)culinities, I captured this unfolding floral romance and drama. Each finished image holds details of individual closeups. Between 50-60 photographs made up the buds, whilst the blooms have between 100 to 130 images. All in all this melodrama lasted about a month, from the time it bore its first leaves to the last day when I photographed the withered blooms. The remains are now potted it in my back garden. Only time will tell if it will survive. It was a privilege to observe and to capture it all in micro and to be able to create a macro world from it.
Every time Ann stopped by for a coffee and saw me working away on these images, she felt ever so chuffed. “I knew you would like it!”. Little does she have any idea that a signed print of Amaryllis Mandala 2016 awaits as her birthday present next month!!
The prints are in variable sizes. A miniature format that beckons you to come close or larger than life size that allows a glimpse to appreciate shapes and textures and at times a size in-between. Individual information on print sizes is mentioned within the photographs. Images are available as limited signed prints and each image has an edition of twenty prints (+ two artist’s proof) in total regardless of size. Wether or not you would like to or are able to purchase these limited editions, enjoy them here! For further queries and prices do get in touch.
Oh! And always remember to save your working documents in photoshop! I lost three days of work on Three withering blooms 08/02/2016, when by mistake I closed it off, despite the dialogue options of ‘don’t save’, ‘cancel’, ‘save’. Thinking it was one of the individual images already pasted in the active document, I pressed don’t save to then realise the work was gone. For me its a blooming lesson learnt!!