A rose by another name may smell as sweet, but a poppy would be wise to carefully consider her photographer. Because when the lighting is perfect and the angle is just right, a botanic portrait can be a revelation. Such is the case with Ukranian photographer Sasha Kurmaz's work. With perfect lighting and positioning, he produces a perfect portrait of the botanic specimen: the fragility, beauty, and—dare I say—hope.
His portraits are incredibly inviting, which is, of course, how a flower would love to be portrayed. A flower's function is to attract attention. It hopes to be noticed by its pollinator—a bird, bee, or insect, depending on its ecology. A flower's visual cues—powdery anthers, steady stigma, and fluttering petals—have evolved to be visually appealing as a function of its life cycle. Every flower is the culmination of a species' long process of aesthetic evolution, the purpose of which is to garner a pollinating visitor. A blossom is a big moment for the species, and its hope is in the color gradients, petal posture, and shielded crown of gold.
While I try to keep a safe distance from sentimental anthropomorphizing, it has to be said when considering Sasha Kurmaz's botanic portraits, which fill me with a sublime calm: when we admire a flower, is it possible we are reading its hope?
Oriental poppy, Iceland poppy, Dahlia (top to bottom). All photographs courtesy of Sasha Kurmaz.