I enjoy doing photographic portraits; in fact, portraits are the focus of three of my books. I’m especially drawn to the intimacy of a close portrait – the textures, the individuality, the signs of a life lived that are apparent in a face.
In this project I set out to do something similar, but with leaves - to explore the individuality, the scars of life, the personality of individual leaves. Rather than seek “perfect” specimens at the height of their growth, I watched for leaves with personality, leaves that showed signs of having lived and were now moving toward “death.” Most of these leaves came from my own yard.
These leaf portraits were made in the studio, with a setup somewhat similar to what I would use for a person. However, except for reflected fill light to occasionally lighten a particularly dark area, these leaves are backlit. They are in fact transparencies; we are viewing them from the front, with the veins of the leaves facing the light.
Now well into my 67th year and increasingly aware of the process of aging, I find myself identifying with these leaves.