My recent involvement in a number of photo shoots with the talented Brazilian floral artist Zita Elze leads me to reflect on the synergistic partnership that can evolve between photographer and artist, the end result so clearly elevating what might have been a great picture to one that is sublime.
Perhaps this resonates more in the world of flower photography, where the subject matter is alive, albeit fleetingly so with cut stems and other plant matter. It appears that this delicate vital energy can be captured along with the artist’s visionary creative input. Like an exquisite song recorded by an inspired and accomplished producer, the final rendition surpasses the original in brilliance, whilst capturing for posterity a fleeting ‘live’ moment, the very breath of beauty.
The works that spring to mind include images taken quite independently by photographers Tatsuya Shirai and Julian Winslow. Interestingly both are connected to the natural world through previous or existing careers in botany, gardening and garden design. This seems to give them an edge as they focus on their subject matter, more pertinently aware of the elegant fragility and immaculate precision of nature and undoubtedly more in tune with the way that Zita enhances these qualities through her own work.
She has become known for designing ethereal scenes mixing fresh flowers, foliage and fruit with dried seeds, pods, grasses, branches and even whole trees. Her vision tends to result in fairytale landscapes, with the power to transport onlookers into another world altogether. Tatsuya and Julian’s own artistic sensitivity combined with their botanic background and technical competence as photographers teases out the tiniest detail as well as encapsulating the magic in each scene.
Describing his experience of working with Zita, Tatsuya appears to support my thoughts regarding this exceptional dialogue between photographer and artist:
“It was a great pleasure to work with Zita and her team. Her work is so sensitive and delicate as well as adventurous. Each piece seems to whisper to me, as if it had its own story to tell, drawing me into Zita’s creative world.”
Leaving his pictures above, and some of Julian’s below, to speak a thousand words, I need say no more…
“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.”
― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Find out more about Zita Elze
Text © Emma Boden
Photography © Tatsuya Shirai © Julian Winslow