Contemplative Photography—Expression and Vision

I have lost count of where I am in this thirty-one day blog challenge. Today is the eighteenth day of the month.

Yesterday, I roamed around the pond with the camera, still searching for and finding all kinds of beauty. I passed my other “secret” garden, the one that is so secret it doesn’t know it’s a garden. I sowed a variety of flower seeds, including wildflowers, zinnias, poppies, and others. The problem: only the zinnias came up. The solution: they have been blooming like crazy now that we are past the heat of the summer.

And the bonus: the flowers are attracting butterflies!


Freeman Patterson talks about the role of expression in photography. He argues that there are two kinds of expression: the expression that the subject shows us (joy, peace, sorrow, excitement, etc.) and the self-expression of the photographer. He poses two questions that are essential for all photographers to answer before making the image:

  • What is expressed?
  • How is it expressed?

I stalked the butterfly, one of two that were flitting around the zinnias. (Do you know how hard it is to get butterflies to be still long enough to compose a photograph and then manually focus the lens?) Butterflies represent freedom to me, the ability to pick up and move as the spirit moves. They also represent delicate beauty. As it is October, there is also a feeling of fleeting beauty. It won’t be long before it is too cold for butterflies or zinnias.

I think by isolating the zinnia and the butterfly from the rest of the garden, I emphasized that idea of the end of the summer. The zinnia is in some ways past its prime. I also wanted to create a feeling of “age.” Therefore, I used a couple of textures from Photomorphis to create the vintage feel.

By Olivia Fulmer

I am the OliviaIrene of OliviaIrene Photography. I am a photographer, a teacher, a story teller. I use this space to tell stories of life, family, and faith through words and images. I'd love to share your stories as well. Join me in this journey.

I love conversation, the close, intimate kind amongst friends. Won't you join me? I look forward to a good coze.

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