“I don’t think we can begin to understand beauty’s gravitational pull without first understanding the flower, since it was the flower that first ushered the idea of beauty into the world the moment, long ago, when floral attraction emerged as an evolutionary strategy.”
Flowers have entranced me since I was a child, first as a tender gardener who got pollen on her nose. I recognize my own process in Pollan’s discussion of the bumblebee who plunges into the bloom, completely unconscious of the flower’s powerful role in the “co-evolutionary bargain” between bee and plants as they act on each other: The bee only “thinks” it is choosing the flower for food, and the plant gets winged transportation of its genes.
I am not aware of any biological consequences for the plant kingdom from my flower photographs. Reflection on my co-history with these blooming objects of my desire for beauty, however, make it eminently clear how much they have altered my personal history, my philosophy and my modus operandi. I experience my artwork as completely frivolous but also as a passionately serious declaration of my belief in the universal mutual interests of all beings on this planet.
- The Poem
- It caught me…
- From across the room,
- And enslaved me…
- To unloose its snares.
- Crying for release, spun…
- Into liberating webs.
- - Mary Halas © 1967
I wrote that brief verse decades ago about the inspiration to write poetry, but I find today that it speaks equally well of my passion for giving flowers new life and meaning in my art.
When I was a in grammar school, the results of a career test astonished me by declaring that my interests were most consistent with becoming an artist. I got my first Pentax Spotmatic camera when I was 21 and had my first art class in my late 20s. My accomplishments in photography and art are very much the result of friend and family support, encouragement, and (in the case of my husband and my daughter) co-conspiracy to pursue play and beauty. I have studied Photoshop with Eliot Cohen, along with my classmates Bob Tetro and V. Michael Straus, and I owe much to their inspiration and prodding. Please be sure to visit our group site PhotoVisions3.com and their individual web sites: Bob Tetro at http://www.photojourneysabroad.com and V. Michael Straus at http://www.vmsphotos.com.
Mary Halas has shown her pictures in the Photography Exhibit at the Waterford, Virginia annual fairs and in the town’s Red Barn Exhibits of juried fine art. Her one-artist exhibits include 2003 and 2004 shows at the Common Grounds Coffee and Tea Shop in Arlington, VA, and shows in 2004 and 2006 at The Lower Atrium, Inova Fairfax Hospital. In 2003, The National Capital Orchid Society awarded her the Palik Memorial Award for “Best Photograph” (Streaming into the Deep, a “paintography” collage). She also produces individual commissions of original prints from her extensive portfolio on flowers, landscapes, architectural details and wildlife.
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