Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A Rembrandtian composite

with 28 comments

This post’s title notwithstanding, today’s photograph is not a composite of several images. No, “composite” is a traditional botanical name for any member of the sunflower family. Of which composite these are the remains remains unclear. Horticulturist Anna Fialvoff said that she thought it might be running groundsel, Packera obovata [which amazingly also grows in Austin], but that she would expect more fluff on the spent seed head.

I made this portrait, which strikes me as Rembrandtian in its tonality, at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, on June 12.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 11, 2018 at 6:29 PM

28 Responses

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  1. Beautiful photo–reminiscent of a metal sculpture.

    Jeri Porter

    July 11, 2018 at 7:04 PM

  2. Very nice Steven! Always enjoy your images!

    Reed Andariese

    July 11, 2018 at 9:11 PM

  3. I know Rembrandt did some nudes, this is more like his denuded period. I agree with Jeri Porter, it has a nice bronze metallic look to it.

    Robert Parker

    July 11, 2018 at 9:41 PM

    • Yes, this is one of my Bronze Age portraits. I felt the need to prove my mettle. Although the picture was new here last night, today it’s already becoming de-newed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2018 at 5:21 AM

  4. I wish I had known about Garden in the Woods when I lived back there.

    That is a beautiful seed head portrait, Steve. It does have a metallic-like sheen.

    Lavinia Ross

    July 11, 2018 at 9:43 PM

    • That’s what visits to our former haunts are good for. This most recent trip was the first one in six years that took me back to the Northeast. On the other hand, if the seed head really was Packera obovata, I could’ve made a similar portrait right here in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2018 at 5:40 AM

  5. It’s a masterwork.


    July 12, 2018 at 12:07 AM

  6. When I saw this, an O’Keeffe quotation from the exhibit at Crystal Bridges came to mind: “Exact realism does not equal awe. I had to create an equivalent for what I was looking at — not copy it.” Which is to say, in this instance, the word ‘awesome’ truly does fit. This is more than a nice photo. This is art.


    July 12, 2018 at 7:14 AM

    • Thanks for considering this to have moved into the realm of art. I’m happy with the image (and with your comment too, of course).

      The O’Keeffe quotation is a good one. With respect to equivalents, I don’t know how much Stieglitz influenced her and how much she influenced him:


      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2018 at 8:48 AM

      • I’ve really been struggling to finish a post about the exhibit at Crystal Bridges, and it’s been interesting through that process to think about the O’Keeffe/Stieglitz artistic relationship — as well as the importance of her relationship with Paul Strand.


        July 12, 2018 at 11:12 AM

        • I look forward to seeing how you weave the three of them together. Strand was also an early advocate and practitioner of abstract photography.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 12, 2018 at 11:24 AM

  7. beautiful


    July 12, 2018 at 7:44 AM

  8. You’ve captured a lovely portrait.


    July 12, 2018 at 10:17 AM

  9. This post made me smile. The ‘Rembrandtian’ adjective really fits the image well.


    July 12, 2018 at 6:55 PM

    • I’m glad to hear you like my choice of adjective. To my mind, the tonality certainly seemed to fit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2018 at 7:26 PM

  10. I have no idea what that is. I looks like it should be familiar, but I really do not recognize it.


    July 14, 2018 at 3:09 PM

    • Here in central Texas, and apparently far afield as well, various composites end up looking like this in their latter stages. That may account for your feeling of familiarity, even if you can’t place the species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2018 at 3:35 PM

  11. This is something else Steve … stunning!


    July 18, 2018 at 2:31 PM

    • It is indeed a different way of looking; I’m glad you like to look at the subject that way too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2018 at 6:09 PM

  12. Made me laugh, yes, well titled! And lovely, the light is so nice….


    July 24, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    • Thanks. It may be a bit of self-aggrandizement to call the portrait Rembrandtian, but really like the way it came out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2018 at 2:27 PM

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