Past Perfect by Polina Plotnikova

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I am a Russian-born UK-based photographer. My photographic style developed through my love and knowledge of art. Modern technology equips you with some amazing tools that the artists of the past could not even dream of – but the main task is essentially the same: to draw the viewer in, so that they can share your vision and tune into the emotions that you are trying to convey.

One of my favourite subjects is flower photography.

The approach to flower photography that I take is somewhat similar to that of a portrait photographer – for every flower and plant that I photograph, I always try to find its unique look, study its mood and character, and ultimately unlock the hidden beauty of my models. A successful flower portrait attempts to discover something unique in a flower, something hidden or not necessarily obvious at first sight. Also, a good floral portrait – unlike a purely botanical illustration – would always trigger a thought or an emotion in a viewer’s mind. I work in my home studio. Studio flower photography is great for a perfectionist – no one fidgets or makes faces, your models do not talk back to you, no sudden gust of wind or some other quirk of ever-changing weather can spoil your shot. But, by the same token, you cannot count on something interesting that just happens all of a sudden – it is all up to you; the choices are infinite, and the final result is entirely in your own hands.

While appreciating the natural beauty of plants and trying to stay true to their original look, I do not limit my point of view to purely botanical. Instead, I try to lift a flower off its typical setting and put it into indeterminate space, where its beauty can be seen in all its purity. Having started with what’s commonly referred to as “pretty pictures” of flowers as they are, I then moved away from that and developed an approach whereby I don’t just shoot what is in front of me, but rather imagine a picture first, and then work towards getting it onto my photographic canvas. As part of this process, I now often take liberties with details of plants such as position of individual petals and stems. I also use various lighting and post-processing techniques to achieve the result that I am after.

I am often mesmerised by the grace and beauty of plants as they are approaching the end of their natural life. In fact, at this stage a plant can become much more interesting from a purely visual viewpoint. This is what my “Past Perfect” project is all about – the beauty of aging gracefully.

I am very lucky to belong to an independent group of photographers – Mirage group. I think it is extremely important to have the right group of people to share your images with, to get advice and feedback. [Official Website]

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