Post image for Cyclamen profile

Cyclamen profile

February 16, 2009

in Flora & fauna

Cyclamen are one of those strange plants that are almost too familiar to be noticed. Gardeners love them as they do two useful things: thrive in dry shady areas, and flower in autumn. Because of this usefulness, they become the ubiquitous splash of pink colour in the shabby corner of the garden. And because they are so low to the ground, their grace is easily overlooked.

Cyclamen originated in a broad swathe around the Mediterranean and as far as Iran. Flowering in autumn allows them to set seed before the dry heat of summer, when they lose their leaves and all but disappear. The flowers, with their characteristic reflexed petals, are carried on a slender stem which arches at the tip, giving the impression that the flower hovers above the foliage.

For a photographer, there are two options to do justice to cyclamen: get down on the ground, or pick a flower. On this occasion I didn’t feel like lying flat on the ground – it is the shabby corner of the garden after all – so I brought a bloom indoors.

Instantly I knew I had done the right thing. The soft but strongly directional natural light gave the cyclamen an almost ghostly air, revealing all the delicacy of colour and form. I opted for a simple profile shot, with an unadorned background, to allow the simple grace of the flower to speak for itself.

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