Book Review: Fine Art Flower Photography


Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.
– Peter Adams

Although Tony Sweet’s book Fine Art Flower Photography: Creative Techniques and the Art of Observation (2012, Stackpole Books) won’t teach you anything about growing plants, it covers a subject near and dear to any gardener’s and garden blogger’s heart: how to make an artistic capture of the beautiful flowers you’ve been cultivating (or find in other people’s gardens).

Like all fine art, the treatments used are intended to elicit an emotional response. From blooms blurred/blown by the wind to Impressionist swirls of drift plantings, to the rippled edge of a bicoloured rose and the perfect round globe of a white tulip framed by hot pink azaleas, the images in this book are absolutely breathtaking. Sweet carefully walks the reader through all of the equipment required to produce his work, and he describes the process he took using both film (ie: setting up for multiple exposures) and digital cameras. Complete explanations are given for working with software programs such as Photoshop to build these digital masterpieces. Armed with this knowledge, the reader should be able to use the techniques described to capture and create their own floral art.

Don’t expect these kinds of beautiful renderings to show up on Flowery Prose anytime soon – photoediting software (and the wherewithal to use it) isn’t on the radar just yet for me! But considering flower photography from an emotional perspective and not merely as a record is something I would like to work more on – and I definitely need to learn how to use my cameras to best advantage! For all of those things, this book is a delightful piece of pure inspiration.

Is photography a passion for you? What are your favourite subjects to capture?  (If you have online folios or a photography blog you’d like to share, please feel free to post a link!).

I’m participating (very belatedly) in Roses and Other Gardening Joys’ Gardening Book Reviews for March! Head on over there to check out all the fabulous reviews!

(You can view some of Tony Sweet’s photo galleries here).