Fortunately I visited the Empire State Building at an unpopular time of day, and I’m very glad that I did as this photograph would have been impossible otherwise.
Her surprise at the amount of gear that she saw me drag inside made me realise that oftentimes clients don’t fully realise just what it takes to get the pictures that they require. For that reason I thought I would offer a brief account of this corporate photo session that I shot a few days ago.
Sometimes, as photographers, we spend so much time trying to reach ever-higher levels of imaging perfection with our quest for better cameras and lenses and everything else, that we forget what we’re trying to achieve — pictures that engage, that connect, that have something to say or to show or to communicate.
I chose to photograph this orchid directly, front on, so that its symmetry would be overt, resulting in an image that is almost documentary in that it shows the flower in its entirety just as it is. I didn’t think the beauty of the flower required any compositional artifice to make it look good. The challenge for me was simply to reveal as much of its beauty as I could in one image.
There is no skyline really; there is no horizon, nor is there a ground. This cityscape exists in between those two conventional reference points that we have for our environment.
It seems to me that the flower leans into the frame on its stem which is balanced tentatively on the lower right-hand corner, and is supported in its position by its leaves that hold it upright by leaning against the left side of the frame. It seems to me that the composition plays with the notion of delicacy and strength — the delicacy of the flower head — the petals — and the strength of its stem and leaves that it relies upon to hold it up.
A snapshot, made very quickly. I pointed to my camera (an old 35mm Olympus OM-1, loaded with FP4 film) as a way of asking her permission to photograph her. She nodded at me and I made the picture.
I don’t mind waiting all day for the rain to stop if I can come home with images like this one.