When photographer Susan Michal turned her studio lights toward flowers, she discovered a muse. She found that controlled lighting of blossoms reveals details in color and texture that are usually overlooked. Michal’s art doesn’t end with skilled lighting. Her painterly eye and an appreciation of the flowers’ ephemeral natures combine to create images that have something to say about beauty and time. Michal highlights each flower’s enduring exquisiteness, even as it changes form, without ever seeming maudlin or clichéd.

Susan Michal’s book, Flowers in Transition collects 150 of her wonderful photographs.

flowers in transition, susan michal

Dahlia sp. This stunning dahlia was the first one I pulled out of a huge box of of flowers I ordered. It was more than 10 inches in diameter, which is likely why it is commonly referred to as a dinner plate dahlia. I was moved to tears by its sheer beauty. The variegated corals and yellows mixed together to present a compelling subject. Days later, I photographed this bloom after it dried and found it just as enchanting.

Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta While a common flower, this vivid yellow black-eyed Susan photographed beautifully. The details were evident, even down to the little hairs on its stem. The deep orange-yellow color was intense and exploded against the black background.

Tulipa sp. This bunch of tulips were left sitting on the counter and started to dry up before I got to photograph them, turning into a lovely shade of lavender. When I took them into the studio they were falling all over the place, so I decided to photograph them hanging them upside down. I was able to manipulate the overall arrangement of the individual stems.

Excerpts from Flowers in Transition by Susan Michal (2017) used with permission. Photography by Susan Michal

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