What if we could all look perfect?
What if everything around us appeared to be perfect?
I’m not even going to attempt to answer these questions as I would fail miserably. I can only attempt to explain the notion behind the images in this book and explore what perfection means to me. Is it something impossible to live up to, something that fuels our vanity so that we need to look a certain way; is it something that only really exists in our imagination?
I have always been drawn to objects that are symmetrical. This is a concept that I have been applying to flowers and plants since I began studying photography at college. In the day of 'film', sandwiching two negatives or transparencies together was about as technical as it got. Today we have the use of photo manipulation software like Adobe Photoshop, giving the photographer the freedom to create pretty much anything they like with several clicks of the mouse.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; this made me see things in a very different light. I never realised how lucky I was to freely walk around the shops, to go to a concert, or to go on holiday with out it turning into a military operation! As I look at photographs from several years ago (where I could walk without the aid of a stick) it’s only now that I am concerned about the way I look to other people; it’s only now that I want to look ‘perfect’ again.
As humans it has become second nature to modify things to suit our needs, fashion and vanity. If we want something to look a particular way we change it, even if that means using extreme methods to do it. When we look at celebrities in the media it is quite normal for them to have been airbrushed to perfection and many of them are having regular surgery to achieve that glossy magazine look. However, what do us really see when we look at them? Is it our own insecurities?
Do we ever look at ourselves and say we are perfect exactly as we are?
We wouldn’t modify nature in this way. We wouldn’t remove the creases on a rose or a poppy because it needed to look younger or genetically modify a daffodil because it looked a bit plump.
The ‘modified’ flowers in this book are too perfect. They may make interesting and sometimes beautiful images in their own right, but would we want them to be that way?
Nature is perfect as it is, maybe we are too.
Annemarie Farley (July 2010)
After completing a BA (Hons) degree in Photography at Blackpool and the Fylde College in 1997, I worked as a Medical Photographer (whilst working freelance) until 2008 after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007. Since that time, I have found photography to be a lifeline; giving me the time to appreciate flowers and nature, proving to myself that despite my ‘imperfection’ I can still produce something that others may find beautiful, elegant and even perfect! I try to make my images perfect; possibly because I can’t be. Through my photographs I have subconsciously been looking for a way to be normal again. MS has made me approach things differently; I look at life more closely and try not to view things on face value alone. I’ve applied this to the most mundane of flowers. I hide behind my photographs, and my work certainly attempts to heal my loss of mobility by creating images that sometimes seem to dance off the page and other times seem so sad.