Dahlias ~ What The Bee Sees
The goal of this project is to interpret dahlias with a compelling, expressive visual message.
My motivation to interpret the dahlias expressively came from wanting to answer this question: How powerful does the dahlia look to an insect in a dahlia-insect ecology? Then translating the answer into human perception. My conclusion was that the dahlias would express very compelling, demanding, controlling, highly-motivating messages to insects — far more compelling than our mere human experience of their beauty.
To express that "far more compelling" sense I selected editing choices that I felt took the look and feel of the flower in the appropriate expressive direction. To translate from flower-insect messaging to human understanding, I felt the need to convey a surrealistic abstraction that took the dahlia from sweet-and-friendly to attention-commanding.
For me, Dahlia 2 ~ What The Bee Sees best expresses my goals for this project. It expresses the power of center of the flower, and it includes enough surrounding imagery to remind us that it's in an ecological system. Plus it has an actual bee — reminding us that it's their world and we're just visiting. So it has the most complete narrative.
Dahlia 1 has the strongest sense of the power of the center of the flower. When the dahlias triptych has been juried into a show, Dahlia 1 is the most popular of the three.
Dahlia 3 shares more information about the surrounding environment. It has the strongest sense of space, and the emergence of the power of the flower from the surrounding space.
Start the slideshow below to see a before & after example
The dahlias were originally photographed at the request of the Director at Mission San Luis Rey. The project started as straight documentary photographs to be used by collateral designers to communicate activities and resources at the Mission.
This blog post discusses images from a gallery located here.
Keywords: Kurt Lightfoot, interpretive, metaphor, narrative, photographer, photography, visual literacy
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