Light or Dark?

I have to say that up until recently I was very much committed to the traditional dark background for a floral image.

You only have to see a few examples of those amazingly skilful and intriguing seventeenth-century Dutch flower paintings to fall in love with the striking contrast of colourful blooms against a very dark, if not black background.

Over the years whenever I have grown enough flowers to put together a reasonable arrangement I have attempted to save the results of my gardening labours by snapping a few floral-themed photos with black backgrounds.

Now this preference of mine came under serious personal scrutiny when I decided to enter an image-based competition where photograph entries had to be uploaded to Instagram. I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but photos on screens can either benefit from the backlighting effect of the screen or be blighted by it.

After some time experimenting with my dahlias I concluded that a bright, almost white background made for a more interesting, contemporary photo and suited the screen presentation a little better. And, then it was a choice of going with either more flowers (above) or less (below). I chose less and although not a winner I was individually thanked for taking part, as were all entrants, which I thought was rather civilised for social media.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

17 thoughts on “Light or Dark?”

  1. I think you made the right choice for the competition, AND I have always liked your black background photos. It makes the flowers and colours, particularly in the pink-violet range, jump out to me. Combining the shot with peaches reminded me of a post a friend did recently. It’s a big read, I took a couple of weeks, looking at one aspect per time, but I think you might get something out of it also. It may also have you offering alternate opinions! Here it is:
    (you will note she has added a little of herself to each example).

    1. Thank you and also thanks for the fascinating and amusing link. I love the way that different folk have responded to lockdowns using famous art. Not surprised in your part of the world somebody takes the opportunity to add a lighthearted touch or too. Over here many people staged themselves as part of famous paintings. My sister was made up and posed for the John William Waterhouse’s ‘The Soul of the Rose’ by her daughters. Significant age difference, but who’s counting!

      1. It’s a beautiful painting! And does she have that English rose complexion to go with it?
        If it was me posing that during lockdown, perhaps I’d be stuffing chocolates in my mouth, not sniffing the rose!

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