Sunday, 10 September 2017

My piece at the recent Ikebana International exhibition.
Copper piping and leucadendron 

Photography and ikebana.

I wanted to share with you some of my experiences with photographing my arrangements.

I'm not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I have a digital camera which I point and click. In my ikebana room I have had installed a cream coloured roller blind that I roll down and on which I place arrangements to photograph. Mostly this works quite well except when I have white vases or pale material which does not show up against the pale background. Also, large arrangements can protrude past the perimeter of the blind. I do some very basic editing on the computer and that's the extent of my photographic skills.

I take photographs of almost all my arrangements but I don't include them all in the blog because, often, the photograph cannot capture the beauty of the arrangement. I am reminded of some wise words uttered by Yoshiro Umemura a long time ago when he said that flat arrangements photograph best. That has, certainly, been my observation, as I try to capture a three dimensional piece in a two dimensional medium. So, I often leave out arrangements that are beautiful but photograph badly.

Having said all that, I have to, also, point out the advantages of photography in ikebana. Quite often, after photographing a piece and seeing it in the view finder, I see imperfections that I hadn't noticed before. Many is the time that I have gone back and made adjustments to my arrangement and photographed it again. Below is one example that I kept for the purpose of illustrating this point. Limited memory space in my camera means that I delete all unwanted photos.

As you can see, the adjustment of moving the small container to the right is a minor one, yet, I feel, makes a big difference to the arrangement by filling in the large gap in the centre.

Every year, at about this time, I indulge myself by making really large spring arrangements on my kitchen bench. This type of arrangement makes everyone who sees it stand and stare as it brings spring into the house when it is still very cold outside and its sheer size means it cannot be ignored. It is, however, messy and time consuming work, firstly to set up and later to maintain as it keeps dropping petals constantly.

The vase I used is as old as my marriage, as it was a wedding present from work colleagues and it housed a terrarium. In those days, I absolutely no gardening knowledge and the terrarium failed but the vase, which takes 60 litres of water, works very well for this type of arrangement. I should point out that the water was carried from the rainwater tank outside by my beloved. Below are the before and after pictures.

And now to class - "Fresh and Unconventional Materials'

Emily - Net and Aspidistra leaves

Aurelia - Rubber and banksia spinulosa (I think)

Guy Pasco's very first free style arrangement.
Bark and magnolia 'Black Tulip' ( I think)
'Featuring the uses of Water'

Here I wanted to feature the shadow cast by the leaf over the water

Here I wanted to feature the magnification
of the water in the cylindrical glass vase
and the buoyancy of the water.
Aurelia used two glass bowls with different levels of water with a New Zealand flax
leaf and camellia
I leave you with this last arrangement - 'In a Tsubo Vase' from Book 5.

'Strelitzia, clivia and Geralton wax. The branch material was found
by the roadside, so I don't know its name
Bye for now,

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