How I Discovered the Marvelous World of Flowers

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Photo/Text: Aline LaPierre    Photo Editing: Victor Osaka

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When I pick up my camera to photograph a flower, this passage from Georgia O’Keeffe comes to mind:

“A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower—the idea of a flower. You put out your hand to touch the flower—lean forward to smell it—maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking—or give it to someone to please them. Still—in a way—nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven’t time—to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint a flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.

So I said to myself—I’ll paint what I see—what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it—I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”

I am still learning to photograph flowers, or rather I should say, flowers are teaching me to photograph them. It is because of flowers that I have become a photographer. The poppy was the first to burst into my camera lens and force me to take notice. I had just bought a Leica V-lux 20 and as good tourists do, took it with me on a local Venice garden tour. Enchanted by the discovery of so many magical gardens, I clicked away without thinking about it too much. Snapshots to inspire my own gardening. When I got home, and saw what my camera had captured, I was stunned…and hooked.

Here are poppies I photographed that day. They opened my eyes and heart to the intricate and marvelous world of flowers. They are by no means perfect photographs and I have since then learned so much. But these were the images that won me over from painting to photography.

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The Perfect Lotus

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Photo/Text: Aline LaPierre    Photo Editing: Victor Osaka

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The beautiful lotus rises through the murky waters of ponds and lakes. When it blooms, it floats upon the surface, its perfect petals untainted by the mud from which it has emerged. In the sacred symbolic language of Hinduism and Buddhism, the lotus perfectly embodies the soul, rising up through the murkiness of worldly experience until it reaches the surface of the spiritual realm and blooms, vibrant and pure, free from taint and attachment.

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