Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Enlighten: Nathaniel Miller, Botanical Photography

Phalaenopsis Orchid, © Nathaniel Miller 2011
     One of the things that inspires my work and informs it is the abundant nature around me. I remember several years ago when I rediscovered the joy of enjoying a flower: the color, the scent, the form. The cliché, "Stop and smell the roses" came floating to the forefront of my mind as I was soaking in seeing, really seeing, nature in front of me. When I go to my studio in the spring and early summer, I have these roses at the end of my walkway that are so pungent, so perfumed that when I close my eyes and breathe in, I can practically taste the scent in the back of my throat. In these moments, I know that material gadgets and things don't hold a candle to the environment we already inhabit—but we rarely take the time to become aware of it.

Yellow African Daisy, © Nathaniel Miller 2011
     Nathaniel Miller's botanical photography captures that richness of experience for me. The use of macro photography replaces our eyes but also aids our ability to get right up to the subject. He pours you into the middle of the flower's petals or the connection between blooms. His framing immerses us in the richness and luminescence of color, cropping out any distractions. You can almost drink in the perfume off the screen or paper.

Stargazer Lily pistil and stamen,  © Nathaniel Miller 2011
     My rediscovery of nature and my connection to it reaffirmed the fundamental message of life on the planet: we exist to reproduce. Nothing pares this down as well as the flower and it does so in such a beautiful package. We forget that the purpose of the flower is all about the reproduction and in parallel, we forget that about our own humanity. That simple realization is what keeps me coming back to issues of sexuality, maturity, relationships in the human experience in my own work and how, it seems, we often intellectually remove ourselves from our own basic nature. It seems Miller also has come to this epiphany and celebrates it with his lens. I think that's why I love Miller's images so much. In his compositions are great balance, beautiful detail, color, richness of floral beauty and inescapable sexuality. Awesome.

Snapdragon Flower Buds,  © Nathaniel Miller 2011
     Miller uses a Canon Powershot SX IS5 with a macro lens for his images. He's been taking botanical images, starting with his love of gardening in his backyard, for about 10 years. You can learn more about Miller and view additional images or even order prints here on his blog. Miller has made some select images available on various items such as organic t-shirts, phone cases, laptops skins and more prints available for purchase at his Cafe Press site here. [All images on this post © Nathaniel Miller 2011]

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