Art Series photographs.
This series is composed of images of a fascinating specimen found in a botanical garden in Himeji City, Japan. Carefully cultivated by the facilities attentive staff over the course of many years, this species develops at a remarkably slow rate, taking more than 50 years to reach full maturity. In the final stage of its life cycle, this captivating plant channels the last remnants of its stored energy into blooming. As buds grow and flowers bloom its leaves wilt and wither away, it’s final sacrifice ensuring the continuation of the species.
This plant is now officially recognized as an endangered species by the CITES. While the images here are of a single species, I captured both its daily growth and the subtle yet varied stages of its development as the seasons changed. While these changes are small, I managed to convey the symbolic strength and enigmatic beauty of life reflected in this little plant. I carefully controlled the lighting to create a stereoscopic effect through the gradation of light and dark as not to lose the texture of the leaves. To enhance the presence of the image, I put a strong emphasis on simplicity. I also focused on framing the natural geometric patterns of the plant in a way that highlighted its organic symmetry and added to its aesthetic appeal.
What I would most like to express through this series is “beauty”. More specifically the duality of beauty depicted not only through the objective beauty of the plant, its color, form, ridge line, and pattern; but the beauty of life itself. This plant has been growing and preparing itself for many years, and in the end, all that cumulative energy is spent on one miraculous transformation that guarantees life for the next generation. I was captivated by the beauty of its transient nature. It’s fleeting yet purposeful life cycle. All living things face the reality of death. Plants and humans alike move ever closer to the end. This is unavoidable. However, that isn’t to say that life is without meaning for them or us. Life is in fact beautiful because it is fleeting. To die beautifully is to live beautifully. The plant fulfills its given life through a selfless singular drive to abdicate. Falling gracefully under the layers of lives inherited from the past, and passed down to future generations. This is not unlike the philosophical ideals of life and death found in Bushido. However, Bushido does not emphasise the romanticization of death but rather the fulfillment of one’s own life and purpose. People are sometimes delighted, sometimes disappointed, sometimes bruised, but it is precisely these experiences that lead to personal growth.
The layers of the plant reflect the layers within ourselves, the varied experiences of living things coeles in layers that make up the core of our being. In life, there is a deeper source of beauty that never runs out even as one gets old. To think that one can better understand the nature of beauty in the life of a plant. That to capture the cycle of life in another living thing can help one better understand themself. In taking this series I have developed hope that I, like this plant, will grow and change through my experiences to live and die a life I can be proud of.