Allan Myles’ series Carpe Diem is a photographic manifesto exploring the ‘passage of time‘. Throughout this collection of stills, a wilting flower becomes the motif for the descent of life and the beauty left behind. Frail flower heads are symbolically portrayed like humans with Allan recording the individual character and expression of each bloom.
Allan allows each flower to fully develop then gently whither, revealing an intimate languor of their decay whilst managing to preserve their unfurling beauty. Witnessing life as it perishes, the viewer is encouraged to recognise a beauty that comes from this departure. Remnants of each flower act as reminders to the extinguished time; their friable petals and wrinkles ossified in space.
The series acts as a symbol and prompt to find beauty in the ageing day: through accepting the passing of time and acknowledging the mark it leaves upon us. We are pushed to abandon all disquietude and learn to appreciate the present moment. By capturing soft textures and strokes of colour, Allan discovers the elegance of time stored within each flower.
Allan intends for each final image to be viewed as though it were a portrait. Rendering his subject’s essence, expression and suggestion of a ‘human’ element with shape, character, pose and posture. After selecting and cutting his flowers, they are left for between a day to a week in the studio, allowing nature to takes it course and for the optimal moment to be reached – when the flower reveals its character to the fullest. The procedure of desiccation is followed by the study of the flower’s best angle. Using Profoto Studio Strobes to highlight the flower, the most expressive aspect is enhanced and comes back to life.
A photo is taken on a Phase One digital camera and digitally processed at 16bit in full resolution to maintain maximum detail. Allan works with the image on Photoshop to enrich and modify the colours, details and features, compiling many layers of textures behind and over the flower image, using stored images from earlier shots. There can be as many as 16 layers in a single image.
The attempt to revolutionise our conception of time lies at the heart of this series, which offers a new way to interpret the fleeting moment, typically captured at its flourishing peak with the beauty of age, maturity, experience. These flowers are the symbol of expiring life which becomes all the more precious when we learn to appreciate the difference one day can make.
As always, thanks for reading! And you can find Allan’s full collection of flowers here.