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roses, dusk

June 15, 2011

cover of “power, corruption and lies”, new order, 1983 (cover by peter saville)

Ignace-Henri-Théodore Fantin-Latour, ‘a basket of roses’, the painting used for the new order album cover

Ignace-Henri-Théodore Fantin-Latour, ‘bouquet of roses’

Ignace-Henri-Théodore Fantin-Latour, ‘roses in a basket on a table’

the 6 photographs of roses are mine

. . . . . . . . . . .

i thought it might be interesting to talk about process & inspiration and these images above.

it started with the cover art done by peter saville for new order’s 1983 album ‘power, corruption & lies’. it’s a favorite of mine, and there’s something haunting about the painting of those roses (i think it’s the music, too…)

so i looked it up and found out that the painting used on the album cover is part of the collection of the national gallery in london, and it’s the work of Ignace-Henri-Théodore Fantin-Latour, a 19th century French painter who painted many flower still-lifes. i’ve been intrigued by these images ever since.

i think you have to visit london at this time of year to really understand the roses that are everywhere. it’s hard not to notice them, and i found myself drawn to them this year… snapping lots of pictures of roses, many times dead roses with dried petals, hanging at an unnatural angle. and after i saw Fantin-Latour’s paintings, i decided to take some photographs inspired by his work.

the 6 photographs above are the result. i shot the photos at dusk. there is a sense of classical beauty with roses, their shape and form. but i also think roses are haunting, melancholy, heavy. that is what i saw in Fantin-Latour’s paintings, and that is what i hoped to capture in the photographs i shot. i did not want these to be “lovely” images – i was looking for a sense of weight and of darkness – the feeling i get when i put on “power, corruption & lies” and listen to that music.

  1. Christophe permalink
    June 15, 2011 9:40 pm

    Great post mate…smashing stuff.

  2. June 15, 2011 9:57 pm

    really lovely: all Hasselblad? and whose film?

  3. June 15, 2011 9:58 pm

    The paintings are exactly as you describe. So glad to hear someone else shares their magnetic draw. I especially like the first shot, and am interested in those other photos you’ve been taking of the dead roses…

  4. June 15, 2011 10:44 pm

    Beautiful, Brian.

  5. June 16, 2011 2:12 am


    Also, I’m not sure if you follow the Saipua blog or not, but Sarah over there provides great inspiration for moody flowers.

    Like so:
    And so:

    • June 16, 2011 7:40 am

      thanks youngna – yes, i do follow sarah’s blog – funny and thoughtful, and she’s magic with those flowers.

  6. June 16, 2011 7:02 am

    I think you’ve achieved that feeling, Brian. They are amazing images. I’ve been drawn to shooting at dusk, it’s fleeting light is so hard to capture and so stunning if you manage to do so… I’m curious what film you used here as well.

  7. June 16, 2011 7:39 am

    thank you all, kindly. i shot these with portra 400nc (the old portra). edward, they were all taken with my hasselblad.

  8. June 16, 2011 9:32 am

    his paintings are just exquisite. i think inspiration across certain thresholds – from music into visual, from a story to a photograph, from a mood to an image – makes for very dense, evocative work. i like your roses in dusk very much.

  9. June 16, 2011 2:15 pm

    Good try, but I still see the beauty in the shots you took. :)

  10. June 22, 2011 10:07 pm

    Ah the roses post! It was nice to get the background story, process and inspiration…

  11. Sara permalink
    June 23, 2011 7:09 pm

    thanks for this post. it’s easy to appreciate all takes on the roses, and I love seeing the connections.

  12. June 26, 2011 3:52 am

    I know exactly what you mean. I stumbled on a rose garden the other day, and similar thoughts struck me.

  13. marthasnail permalink
    July 3, 2011 9:22 pm

    such a nice post, brian.


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