Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tulips - A week later

After much musing on the fleeting existence of life and in particular its expression through a tulip, I am drawn once more to consider the way that a photograph can capture a moment in time.  A photo is a frozen expression of what once was and can never be again, immediately sad and yet with the passage of time gaining a warm glow of reminiscence and perhaps nostalgia.  Serious photography seems inexorably drawn towards the fringe, decay and often destruction take center stage in the photographic contemplation of life.  Yet we strive among the chaos to find beauty and order.

Two weeks ago the perfect form and silky colour of spring tulips caught my attention resulting in a sequence of almost dream like photographs delving deep into the detail of these flowers.  A few days later the blooms have fallen and their shape begins the transformation of decay.  At this stage a few flowers entered a brief period of new exuberance, a comment on one of these photos compared them to Henry Matisse' "Dance".  Truly they did seem to have the life and swirl portrayed in this great painting:

It is almost as if with the end approaching the flowers made one last attempt at there former glory.  Within days all was gone, the petals shriveled and the colour darkened to a sickly purple

The dance of life had come to an end, still strangely beautiful, but melancholy.  Each tulip came to an end in a different way.  A single bloom retained its shape and slowly shriveled in upon itself, like an aging actress desperately clinging to former beauty, but surrendering to the wrinkles of time:

The colour echoes the excess of rouge that feebly attempts to mask what we can all see.  Two other blooms died a similar way, but without the symmetry of life

Now part of some landfill on the edge of the city, these once fragile flowers will only ever live on as pixels on my hard drive and perhaps as a print to decorate the walls of somebody trying to make sense of the passage of time.

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