09 June 2010

In the Kitchen Garden, Part 2: Portrait of an Artichoke

Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus), June 2010

When I start processing my images in Photoshop, I almost always find one or two that give me a visceral thrill, and that I can't wait to share. Being able to see the pictures almost right away and work with them myself (without darkroom chemicals) is just one of the reasons I have happily converted to digital photography, after years of holding onto the Luddite position that pixels could never capture life the way film does. I'm finally converted, but you tell me: are these images lifelike?

I spent some time the other day with an artichoke that, like the herbs in a previous post, had gone to bloom and was thus "useless" in a culinary sense. Inedible, perhaps, but absolutely gorgeous. The artichoke is a member of the thistle family, and when it blooms it's easy to see the resemblance. The filamentous florets look like sea anemone tentacles (indeed, the sea creature was named after the anemone flower), and the heavenly blue-violet color is a surprising contrast to the thick army-green leaves and stems. I used extreme-macro to capture these images; I could have increased the depth of field (and might experiment with that next time), but right now I am enjoying the creative possibilities of limited DOF, including highlighting details that might otherwise be unnoticeable if more of the entity were in focus. Are these images "most representative" of this artichoke's beauty? I don't think any image could be all that, and in any case making images is, for me, all about experimentation, which I've always believed is the best way to learn and, ultimately, to express my own vision of the world.


KeLLy aNN said...

This has got to be the BEST new thing I learned today!
I never even knew the artichoke had a flower, much less one so attractive.

Anna Lear said...

Thanks, Kelly Ann! The first time I saw one (in my own garden, no less, which I had been neglecting because of work) I couldn't believe it! Made me feel a lot less guilty about neglecting it!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen an artichoke in bloom before. Gorgeous! Thank you for posting these amazing pics.
Anna (Canada)

Anna Lear said...

Thanks for your comments, Anna -- it's good to hear from you! Take good care.