Flower photography has been a long-time interest of photographic artist Jay Burton, who says that his fascination with flowers lies in “the intricacy and sensuality of floral structure” and in “the challenge of producing a unique, striking flower image.” Jay Burton is a nationally exhibited, award-winning photographer who began making photographic images at the early age of eight. Jay holds a Ph.D. in theatre, and teaches drama in community colleges, where he also directed and designed sets and theatrical lighting. He believes that his work in theatre compliments his work in photography and vice versa. Both arts are, in his opinion “about meaningful moments, ideas, feelings, and pictures.”
A few years ago, Jay became interested in the possibilities of abstract photography. While exploring those two interests–flowers and abstraction–, he began work with what he has come to call “middle ground macros.” Jay explains that middle ground macros “fall somewhere between a typical macro, such as an insect’s eyeball, and an extreme close-up, like a whole flower.”
In his choice of lens-to-subject distance and shallow depth of field, Jay generates a level of abstraction that retains intricacy and sensuality in his image subjects.
“In editing and cropping these images, I realized that they could be organized by juxtaposition, which created new and different relationships between the parts and formed a completely unique larger image. I chose the grid as a convenient framework for this juxtaposition.” Jay says that “both the single images and the images that make up the grids are of different parts of the subject and are often shot at different times and on different days.”
“After shooting, there are fifteen steps in creating a final printed grid. Creative decisions and discovery occur at every step in the process. By far, the most complicated step is the creation of a working grid; this requires finding new ways of arranging individual shots to create connections and thus an entirely new, cohesive image.”
Once he’d produced a number of flower grids, Jay applied the same concept and process to the female form, or, more accurately portions of the female form. The results were very different, but no less satisfying for the photographer. “Shortly after that, I recognized that foods could also provide very sensual subject matter. At present I am exploring other subject matter, but I have not abandoned any of the earlier series.”
Jay completes all the work manipulating his camera shots on his computer, but the end products, which are limited edition prints, are created by a genuine photographic process on light-sensitive paper.
The guiding considerations for Jay Burton’s current work are “suggestion and sensuality.” Jay Burton sees more subtle sensuality in a flower image than in a boudoir photograph. For Jay, a grid composed of parts of the female form “can be far more suggestive than a photograph of an unclothed woman.”