I recently participated in a “Botanical Bizarre” at the Broad Room Creative Collective. The event, organized by a local herbalist, featured loads of makers and creatives vending their wares, as well as the opportunity to enjoy music, food and art. The event was flush with hand sewn and vintage clothing, tarot readings, thoughtfully hand crafted goods, and the air was thick with the warm, floral aroma of candles.
I created a photo-booth constructed of foraged Mexican fan palms, and invited guests to sit for a film portrait in front of it. My lovely friend Megan turned up at the event for a portrait, and I absolutely loved how the images of her, and her daughter, turned out.
Way back when I was trained in studio lighting, I was still using a digital camera. I consider myself a natural light photographer, but this time of year, the sun sets mid-afternoon. I knew if I was going to shoot portraits at a night market I had to work without any natural light.
This was my first time attempting a large scale plant installation, and I was working within the constraint of a shoe string budget. This was also my first time using artificial light on film. That may seem minor, but I was a bit terrified to venture out of my comfort zone, largely because film doesn’t allow you to check the back of your camera, or fidget much with the images in post-production. As always with film, I knew I had to get it right in camera, and that I had to operate on faith that I was, in fact, getting it right. I’m so gratified to be able to share these images I waited very impatiently for from my film lab. And I’m reminded of the Orson Welles quote, on the importance of creative constraints, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”