November 27, 2015

The last time I saw my grandmother –– two months before she died –– she looked so beautiful and serene. Her hair was short and silver and her skin was porcelain white. Everything about the scene, the softness of her face, the pale green of the walls around her, the stillness of the winter view outside her bedroom window, was peaceful.  Irving Penn’s flower series, currently on show at Hamiltons Gallery in London, made me think of my grandmother, and how heart-breakingly beautiful a thing can be just before it dies. “I can claim no special knowledge of horticulture…. I even confess to enjoying that ignorance since it has left me free to react with simple pleasure just to form and colour, without being diverted by considerations of rarity or tied to the convention that a flower must be photographed at its moment of unblemished, nubile perfection….”







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