Degree Show 2010


Degree Show - 11th – 18th June, 2010 - 11am-4pm
The University of Northampton, St. Georges Avenue , Northampton

I have focused on dying tulips. Tulips are beautiful at every stage of their life cycle but especially as they fade. I came across the idea of photographing dead tulips by accident. I began buying tulips to photograph them with strong shadows. I noticed that as they died the colours became more intense and the petals started to twist into very interesting shapes with distinct contours and lines beginning to appear. I was about to throw out a bunch of tulips when I decided to try photographing them. Throwing them on the ground I began taking close up photos. Surprisingly when photographed in black and white they also provide amazing tonal differences giving patterns of light and shade. My images started out being about colour and form but they very quickly became about tone and form. Tulips as they die provide sensual shapes, contours and lines with an aura of faded glory.

The ‘dead tulip’ series is based on the use of wilted or dead tulips as the subject matter which can be likened to the genre of the ‘Memento mori’ artists of the 17th century who included some kind of symbol of mortality in each picture, i.e. a skull, or more subtly a flower losing its petals. The Latin phrase translates as "Remember you must die," the purpose being to remind people of the inevitability of death, and thereby their own mortality and the transience of life. Flowers begin as beautiful and perfectly formed; bloom into their own, then one day wither away, leaving behind a dried petal in remembrance of what they once were. Tulips also remind us of human control and manipulation of nature, as over the centuries tulips have been artificially hybridised to produce even more flamboyant varieties.
© Angela Stanbridge

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