"Staring at the pattern of the
flecks was dizzying. Staring at it
for a long time was hypnotizing."
--Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief
I could totally be Meryl Streep,
because I LOVE ORCHIDS!
Every year the Missouri Botanical Garden (www.mobot.org) hosts an orchid show. I got into photographing the show in 2006 when I had become really burned out on shooting portraits--which was all I was doing for my senior portfolio as I was graduating college. I went to the show not really knowing what to expect from myself, having never used a macro lens and not particularly caring about the subject. After shooting for a couple of hours the experience ended up being extremely calming and reenergized my love for photography. I go back to the Garden every year to shoot the show. Four shows in, it is a great challenge to find an aspect of the flowers that I haven't already shot--but that's the fun of the creative challenge, isn't it?
My favorite way to photograph flowers is with a macro lens. Using the macro immediately allows me see the details in the orchid that I certainly wouldn't notice just in passing. It is captivating to study small sections of each petal--the tiny little hairs along folds and creases that make a delicate flower look like a cactus, each impulsive twist and curl in the edges. I really believe that if I didn't photograph orchids the majority of their beauty would go unappreciated in my mind. For this reason, I love sharing my photography with others. I want people to feel the same sense of awe that I have.
In the past year, aside from selling prints of my orchids, I began turning my work into coasters and note cards. Why not be able to enjoy the wonder of nature and protect your coffee table from water rings at the same time? For more orchids and orchid paraphernalia visit my Etsy shop at www.jbirkemeierphoto.etsy.com.