It was an ordinary Saturday. I was about my business as usual, standing in line at Trader Joes nearly suffocating in my cloth mask as I stood in the beating sun waiting for my turn to shop. I mulled over the list of items I needed to buy. I always forget something and was determined to not let that happen this time!
As I passed through the sliding doors, the A/C blew my hair from my face. To my right the flowers flaunted their summer colors, catching my attention out of the corner of my eye. I quickly moved ahead to the summer fruits, but a quick thought caused me turn around and reconsider a colorful arrangement. It had been a long time since I had bought flowers. Usually, I prefer to spend money on more lasting items, but I was about to spend the weekend alone at my studio and thought "why not!" My summer quarter had just ended two days prior and I decided I'd like to make some new images, to create something new just for myself; not for school, not for work, but just for my own creative pleasure. I shelved my mental food list and walked to the flower choices.
Photographing flowers is something I have done before, but not often. I prefer the thrill of photographing people, but today, I considered the quiet of being alone and in my creative space at the same time. Photographing flowers seemed like a good way to spend my time. Right away the Calla Lillies caught my attention. I've always loved them and now I stood face to face with the most beautiful, tall purple stems that seemed to call my name. It was a serendipitous choice as I was unaware of the exercise in metaphor I was about to embark upon.
Returning to my studio, I put the flowers in water, set up my lights and dove right in. As I pulled each stem, one at a time, I was moved by how unique each blossom had been shaped. Each one had a different bend, twist, or wave to its edges. I began to think about the uniqueness of humans and how special each of us are, how wonderfully diverse and beautiful the human race is. To go a step further, I was reminded of a special group of women in my life and felt compelled to celebrate and honor them specifically as I created my art.
I consider the Calla Lily, named from the Greek word for beauty calla, to be a poetic visual of the ornate strength found in a group of very special women I know. It is both delicate and resilient just like them. The Calla Lily is remarkably strong and has been known to grow even when cut from its plant. As a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings, the Calla Lily embodies a determination to grow and survive.
The Calla Lily flower is like any one of my special friends. She is deep and her yearnings profound. She is vulnerable and brave. Her color is rich with beautiful undulations and her form as fluid as her empathic nature. She is both broken and resilient in the face of pain and no matter what, her beautiful essence cannot be masked. The Calla Lily blooms in three seasons, but abstains in winter. I liken this to the way in which these women know when to shine and when to take time for themselves to be alone. Though she may be cut off from her roots, she continues to grow and finds new purpose in her future. One thing is for sure, no matter how long the winter, she always blooms again.