When shooting natural subjects, it is almost a truism that a good image includes a clean, damage free specimen and no “distracting” elements. In a landscape shot, whether “grand” or more intimate, this is usually a valid observation. Elements that are damaged, or do not belong, are nearly always a detracting feature from an otherwise acceptable image.
But sometimes there are elements that are part of nature that we may perceive “flaws,” not worthy of our photographic attention. I have often found myself drawn to such “flawed” subjects while in the field, and while there will undoubtedly be those who disagree, I think some of my better images are of those subjects.
If you think about it, beauty, and sometimes ugliness, are both an integral part of nature. Some pretty beautiful organisms start out in early life as a pretty “ugly” phenomena and often, at the end of their life cycle, they again become “ugly.” It is, of course, a matter of perception, and sometimes one person’s “ugly” is another’s “beauty.”
In the laundry list of “dos and don’ts” often found in books and tutorials on flora close-up and macro imagery, is the admonition to always find a near-perfect specimen. This often means spending a fair amount of time looking. The Trillium, always a harbinger of Spring in northern hardwood forests, in its full splendor is (normally) a delicate, tri-leafed white flower (there are other color varieties – notably red), but the most commonly seen is white. As beautiful as it is, when it begins its inexorable wane, the White Trillium turns purple. This specimen, in my view, is more photogenic and beautiful than its “healthy” mature, white counterpart.
Before it becomes the pretty, fragrant, multifloral red rose, the plant starts out more like this immature rose. I was drawn to its simplicity and beauty, even while surrounded by many other fully blooming specimens.