Salt Spring Lilies

Wendy Kwan

For me, one of the most joyous aspects of photography comes from a discovery so compelling that it demands deeper investigation. Such was the case on a late afternoon in April 2007, driving south towards Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. A charming old wooden church sat on the right hand side of the road, surrounded by a field of naturalized white flowers. The clouds were high, the light was soft. All the right photographic temptations were certainly in place.

As I approached from the entry path to the church, I realized these flowers were not typical sunshine daisies! The entire field was full of tiny lilies, graceful and elegant. Within the chaos of the random sprawl, I could identify patterns and rhythms. From certain angles, I could even imagine rows of lilies, circular patterns, subtle textures crossing the field. The puzzle and challenge of how best to elevate the beauty of these subjects began.

In my attempt to accentuate the qualities of that amazing field of lilies, I used a number of techniques. These included double exposures and long exposures with deliberate gesture at the camera stage, and double negative printing and introduction of a textural source in the enlarger light path in the darkroom. The textural source is a result of experiments made several months ago utilizing art glass. This is the first time I have used this technique for final prints. Toners were adjusted for the desired effect. The result is the final 3 prints created for Summer Salon.

As my photographic journey evolves, I realize that not all work I produce belongs to an existing larger body of work. Lately I have been evolving what I call “small sets”. Works of a few to several photographs that mingle happily with one another, but do not necessarily relate directly to other “sets”. At least not today!  Salt Spring Lilies for now, is an example of such work.


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