Withering Beauty

Withering Beauty

I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.
___Henry Miller

Like many of you, I am endlessly fascinated with the lush world of flowers and plants. To witness a seed sprout, a flower bloom, a leaf wither and fall, that cycle of life, that promise of birth and death reminds us of the one certainty in our lives. I often find the withering and eventual decay of a flower or leaf just as wondrous as its birth and growth.

And the 17th century European still life painters have long been a source of wonder and inspiration. The details. The soft lighting. The created mood. I knew I wanted to create a “drawing” or “painting” that depicted the “Withering Beauty” of nature and was reminiscent of those early European painters.

I’ve also been thinking about compositing or sandwiching several images to create one. Photoshop is the logical choice for this. But I am no Photoshop expert. Not even close. Coincidentally, while looking for something else, I spotted an old flatbed scanner a friend had given me a few years ago up on a shelf. I recalled people scanning their hands and other body parts and thought, “why wouldn’t this work for plant parts as well.”

To shorten a much longer story, and after some trial and much error, “Withering Beauty,” a composite of five separate scans of plants from our garden, emerged. Each layer tweaked in Photoshop and stacked and arranged and merged into a single image. And then a little more work in Lightroom.

I am pleased with my first botanical florilegium and am anxious to see where this will all lead.

We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.

___ Andy Goldsworthy

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I love your title, Ron. What gorgeous colours too. It’s amazing how beautiful decaying plants can be. 🙂

    1. Thank you Sylvia. I am happy you liked it.

  2. You did it! This is absolutely gorgeous. You accomplished just what you wanted. So pleased.

    1. Thanks Lynn. Yes, it came together perfectly.

  3. Spectacular! Like an old classical style still life painting. Wonderful

    1. Thank you so much. I appreciate your comment.

    1. Thank you Carol. I am pleased but look forward to less trial and error. 🙂

  4. Fantastic Ron – looks like you’re definitely having fun with tools!! This is wonderful

    1. Thanks Tina. I have enjoyed expirementing and the results are gratifying.

  5. You didn’t even use a camera??? That’s amazing Ron!

    1. Thanks Madhu. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the scanned image -the soft light and fullness if the image. Not the flat, harshness I expected. I set the scanned to create a tiff file that I imported into Lightroom and then into Photoshop for tweaking. I see myself combining images from both a camera and scanner.

  6. that’s beauty in decay. I love such photos, the wonderful color

  7. Incredible shot Ron, and I agree that this would be a perfect one to expand on in post-production and seeing what comes of it ~

    1. This whole process has piqued my interest and I hope to explore it further.

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