Flora and Fauna
my name is: Deb Stoner
i'm sharing: My still life photography work is about creating complex and fascinating visual tableaus, highly magnifying flora and fauna to show my curiosity about their forms. These images all include an amazing plant, the Solanum Pyracanthum, that I was first introduced to on a visit to the Getty.
this was inspired by: Years ago, on a visit to the Getty, I bought a postcard that included an image of the Solanum by the photographer Becky Cohen. Propped on my window sill all this time, faded and dusty, the postcard reminds me almost daily of the Getty Garden. I never thought about the plant itself, or its name, until my husband brought one home in a 4-inch pot a few years ago, and I thought, Hey! It’s that plant! Living in rainy Oregon, it was never meant to be more than an annual, but in its pot it has limped along for years. And because of its glamorous spikes, I use it in my still life photographs quite often. When people would ask, “What is that plant?”, I could never remember its name. Recently rereading Lawrence Weschler’s marvelous book of conversations with Robert Irwin, Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, I laughed and gave myself a break. Who cares if I knew the name? It surely was not the point. The Getty continued to inspire!
to me, inspiration is: Sometimes inspiration can take some time, acting below the surface. My work in creating still life photographs have changed the way I look at the world. Photographing in this way has slowed me down, and caused me to think about the seasons, how things are impacted by the length of the day, the hours of sunlight, the size of the shadows from the trees. These experiences are exciting to me because they’re not things I’m learning from a book or the Internet or from someone else’s teaching: They’re simple observations that occur because I’m interacting with nature on the level of beauty and curiosity. What I love about the Getty is that is offers all of us an invitation to experience beauty and curiosity on a daily basis, to be inspired in one’s own good time.
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