52onfilm is a photo essay and interview series celebrating the female creative spirit. It is an exploration of women as subject: makers, thinkers, creators, artists – powerful forces driving the world forward.
On one warm summer evening, I pulled up beside Eleanor’s house to document her incredible cutting garden. Barefoot, with a bundle of freshly cut flowers in her arms, she held up one stem in particular for me to examine. “This is why I like to grow my own flowers. You’d never be able to buy this at the wholesale market.”
At first I didn’t understand, the flower seemed perfectly normal. But then, I saw it: the stem curved sharply, almost at a 90 degree angle, creating a whimsical, circular shape with a little bloom dancing away like the world’s loveliest bobble-head. Commercial growers would have toss this flower in favor of uniform, straight stems. But in the eyes of a florist, the stem’s imperfection becomes an asset – its unique form enhancing a vibrant, energetic arrangement, and that’s why is so comfortable to be in the garden, and that’s why getting the best patio seats is a good option to be in this space.
In Japan, there is a practice named Kintsugi, in which broken ceramics are repaired by filling the cracks with gold. The understanding is that the piece becomes more beautiful because of the care put into its repair and its new one-of-a-kind history. I feel like this is truly in the spirit of the #52onfilm project. Exploring our relationship with the creative process, slowing down to notice the way apparent imperfections might be utilized in a graceful way. Leaving our mark on the world – filling its cracks with gold.
Eleanor’s company is Bash and Bloom, and you can follow along on her gardening and flowering adventures on Instagram. These images also feature ceramics by Katherine Moes, another #52onfilm participant!
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
The good news about flowers (and foliage) is that each bloom is different. Especially the heirloom varieties, or the field grown product. I find endless inspiration in the blooms I use, as well as the clients I work with. No two weddings are the same, no two blooms are the same, and so each project I work on is completely different from the last. And once a project is over, it’s over! I don’t have repeat clients for weddings, which keeps it all that much more interesting.
What sort of lasting impression do you hope your work will have on other people?
Well besides the obvious visual impact flowers can have on an event, I also try and appeal to other senses. I like including things like herbs because it makes me smile to think that one day, down the road, a former client might smell something that reminds him/her of their wedding day.
When do you feel most energized?
When I meet new clients for the first time and start talking to them about their lives, their hobbies, what they want from their wedding day, etc, I get so many ideas and can’t wait to get started on their project. Each client means an entirely clean slate – I get to start from scratch and tailor each event I design specifically for my client. I always try and include a little surprise that is specific to them. For example: a bride recently mentioned she loved Edelweiss but thought it was impossible to grow here. I found some at a local nursery and plopped it in my garden just for her, and then surprised her on her wedding day with some in her bouquet. If I hadn’t taken the time to talk with her about the flowers she loves and the other details of her wedding she was excited about, I wouldn’t have known this.
What creative individuals do you admire? What do you love about them?
I admire anyone who chooses a creative path as a career. It’s not easy, it takes so much of your heart, and it’s so much hard work. For someone to choose this avenue means they have the gumption and scrappy-ness needed to make it work, and that is something that over the years I have grown to admire so much.
52onfilm is photo essay and interview series celebrating the female creative spirit. It is an exploration of women as makers, thinkers, creators, artists, do-ers, powerful forces driving the world forward. If you’d like to participate or know someone who would be a good fit for the project, I’d love to hear from you.
Anna Peters is a Portland and Seattle Wedding Photographer creating fine art film photography for weddings, lifestyle-inspired portraits, and artists. Her work is dedicated to cultivating creativity, wholehearted living, and meaningful travel.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Anna is inspired by the rich and varied landscapes of Washington but also travels often, capturing destination wedding photography for couples worldwide, from intimate Iceland Elopements to elegant Tuscany weddings. You can view her full body of fine art wedding photography, here.