"Let's take these flowers and look at them," says Seattle photographer Randy Dana. "By putting them into this context, I think I force peopleto take a new and different look at them. I'm also trying to stimulate people's imaginations and show them something they haven't thought about before, and make them curious."
His entire portfolio consists of images of flowers and found objects, carefully composed. They are all photographed in natural light in his apartment window.
Dana, 50, was an amateur photographer in 1996, when he began taking classes at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle. A restaurant manager, he started photographing to record memories of mountain hikes. It was a black-and-white class on the zone system that initially caused him to photograph flower still-life images. "When you're doing black-and-white you're dealing with very basic compositional elements: texture and form, relationships of objects and space, and light. That to me was very important background to have when I moved into color."
Flowers were the perfect subject. "I think about what I'm going to shoot, what my compositional goals are. I spend a good amount of time scouting for props. I do a lot of fiddling with my composition before I shoot. There is a lot of spontaneity too. When I'm actually shooting and arranging, my players are suggesting things to me."
"It's very much like the fashion shoot, or the landscape photographer visiting a location many times," he says.
Photography has been supporting Dana since 1996. He prints and sells his own work, gaining most of his income from juried arts festivals. He finds his most reliable customers at shows in the Midwest.
He also shows at galleries, and has a show at the Photomontage Gallery in La Conner, Wash., April 1 to May 13. It's timed to coincide with the nearby Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, whose organizers bought one of his images for last year's poster, which turned into a best-seller. His images are also for sale on his website, randydana.com
"I'm trying to do work that is interesting and beautiful, and I want to make people feel good. I get a lot of pleasure out of that," Dana says.