Dead Flowers...Why so Colourful?
'Still Beautiful' - Sad and Lovely

'Still Beautiful' - Sad and Lovely

I forgot that I had a bunch of dying flowers sitting in a vase, on a top shelf in my Studio. What would it be like to shoot them, with an interesting composition, that would also reveal some great texture and some good ol’ fashioned bleakness? I had to find out.

My original idea for this Still Life image was to have dull colours, with minimal saturation.

I wanted to show these dead flowers for what they were: stark, bleak, destroyed and decayed.

Yet this is what we would expect to see from dead flowers.

So after choosing an earthy brown textured background, lighting the scene with grid spots and taking the shot, I finally got into the post processing stage.

In using minimal saturation and bluish, yet mild tones, and some extra playing around with Lightroom controls, I found that this kind of processing did not reveal anything. So in my mind, initially there was nothing of distinct interest added to the image by showing the flowers in their current form.

In other words, I didn't think it was working.

So whilst I was looking at this bleak uninspired image (or so I thought at the time) that I had just edited; I decided to flip the image 180 degrees. This improved the composition and gave the flowers the perception that they were strangely growing downward from above, rather than just hanging limply over a vase.

Then without knowing what the outcome would be, I found myself pushing up the vibrance and saturation in Lightroom and suddenly, what was revealed was such beautifully vivid colours in those dead petals.  

The saturation increase, almost seemed to revive the decayed flowers.

To boost those colours even more, I increased the saturation further, so that there was a direct contrast from dull and lifeless to bold, vibrant and lifeless.

To me it was like painting a comic, bold face on something that was withered and not funny.

A sad clown might paint his/her face with a frown, using eye catching reds, etc, yet they are always out to entertain and amuse the audience, and this is in contrast of the sad feelings that the clown portrays in their persona.

In terms of this image, ‘Still Beautiful’; It may be a bunch of dead flowers, but they can still look beautiful.