with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Flower Power and Photography

Spring wildflowers in the high alpine meadows, Olympic National Park, photograph by Brent VanFossenWe believe very strongly in learning all you can about the subject you are photographing. Imagine our surprise to learn that many flowers have survived over time because of us! Us as in humans. This is according to research released recently and highlighted in this article called The Evolutionary Triumph Of Flower Power by ScienceDaily.

Flowers have flourished – their beauty evolving over time –
simply because we like them, says Terry McGuire,
associate professor of genetics at Rutgers and co-author
of a paper that examines for the first time the whys and
wherefores of flowering plants in an evolutionary context.

It seems that while flowers originally attracted potential pollinators like bugs and birds, it is “their appeal to humans that accounts for the incredible variety of shapes and colors we see in domesticated flowers today.” McGuire research suggests that the pretty flowers survived and thrived because people didn’t destroy them, but cultivated them as they cleared land and destroyed forests over the past 5,000 years.

It goes on to say that in spite of our influences, many domesticated flowers have been “so selected by humans that nature’s pollinators – the bugs and birds – no longer find them attractive. So the job of propagating the species depends mainly on us.”

“Our hypothesis is that flowers are exploiting an emotional niche. They make us happy,” McGuire says. “Because they are a source of pleasure – a positive emotion inducer – we take care of them. In that sense they’re like dogs. They are the pets of the plant world.”

This theory says that flowers survive because of their emotional influence on us and our response to them, and keeping them alive because of this influence. Amazing!

Gives us a whole new perspective on flower power.

Photographing Flowers

Understanding that flowers influence emotions, photographers can style their flower photography to enhance those emotions through composition, creative use of backgrounds and foregrounds, symbol and pattern recognition, and portraiture. Think of daisies in the hands of a child and a rose in the hands of an elderly person. Great symbolism.

We’ve done a variety of articles on photographing flowers and related subjects. Here are a few examples to help you capture the emotional response of flowers.

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