2 full growing seasons ago Claire from PlantPassion commissioned me to photograph British grown cut flowers, as they came into season, for her project The British Flowers Book. We are going through more than 7,000 images at the moment for final selections, and I want to share my own favourites. They aren't necessarily the ones that will fit editorially into the book, but they all have a small story attached.
Our very first florist's shoot, in January 2016. This was with Vanessa Birley, the styling consultant for the book. January light and January flowers are always a challenge and it was great to prove that we could work with both.
I love hellebores - they are the first flower with gravitas to come out, heralding the start of a new season.
Emma de Sousa (The Urban Flower Farmer) showing us how it's done on a brisk March morning in north London. She was more than happy to work with the bright colours and pose with her livestock. Thank you Emma for a memorable shoot.
Working on this book has opened my eyes to the sheer volume and variety of flowers that are available in the UK. I had never seen tulips like these until I met Claire, and handling the stems which grew and twisted made me want to start doing more than just putting a bunch in a vase. The tulips were what got me started with my own journey in flower arranging.
Gorgeous, gorgeous ranunculus, freshly picked and waiting to go out to florists.
This is just simply one of my favourite images that I've ever taken. Whispers & Snippets created a British summer for us.
Claire herself gamely looking cheerful whilst wishing me a million miles away. I hate having my photo taken too so I know how she feels, but the author needs a profile photo.
One of my all-time favourite shoots with Caroline (Cherfold Flowers). The editors will never let this dark edit into the book for a shot that's supposed to be in the height of summer, but this is my site so I can indulge myself. This afternoon with Caroline will be stuck in my memory for the challenges of keeping the candles aflame in a light breeze, and the general epicness of her arrangements (she did another 2).
Jay Archer is a big supporter of British flowers, and this was one of 3 shoots she did with us over the 2 years. This one stands out for me because of the gorgeous light.
Lindsey (The White Horse Flower Company) stepped up and volunteered to create this arch of gorgeousness using Claire's dahlias. Aside from the daschunds that took against my tripod, this was another day when everything came together perfectly.
Look closely - that mist you see behind Thomas Bloom is driving rain. It's easy to get shots on good weather days. But it's days like this that make you feel you're earning your keep as a professional photographer.
Another of my all time favourites from this project. This shows Fiona (Firenza Flowers) at work creating a sumptuous December table arrangement. Fiona has been an early and generous supporter of this project, and she not only did two shoots for the book but laid on bed, breakfast, evening meals and fine conversation for the photographer and stylist.
Support the book
Claire reached her crowdfunding target in less than a week, but there is still chance to preorder the book, and to snap up a couple of unique opportunities - including joining me at Claire's field in Surrey for a floral photography meetup.