Blossom In the New Normal

Environment, photography

The cherry blossom took on a huge significance this year, a sign of optimism that things are returning to normal after the nightmare of the pandemic.

A previous darkroom print that I painted

Every year I walk through the avenue of blossom trees in Greenwich Park to breathe in the sights and smells of the spring blooms, which scientifically are a great boost for wellness. Just like insects, we still respond to the power of plants and flowers. It’s easy to forget our connection to Nature after a winter of quarantine with a connection to computers.

This year the blossom avenue was full of photographers , mainly Instagrammers making use of the delightful backdrop of pink. Every professional influencer wants that shot in front of the beautiful blossom.

It was impossible to have my relaxing stroll because you had to dodge camera tripods and lighting stands at a safe 2m distance. I hung around quite happily to wait for them to finish so I could have a turn walking on the path. But each of the 7 photographers there (on a quiet rainy Tuesday), stayed for at least 2hrs. One photographer had models with different outfits in suitcases and was there a whole day with a picnic laid out.

It was interesting to observe the “selfishness” of these people. They were behind the cameras as if they were not part of reality, it’s not like they didn’t care. I wondered if this was an effect of quarantine, social Media, or what? I’ve never seen anything like it. I heard that people were snapping off twigs of blossom to pose with. Many times, in daffodil season, I have repremanded people for trampling the flowers whilst posing for photos.

But Why?

  • some city dwellers are unaware that they are destroying Nature because they have barely experienced plants
  • tourists sometimes don’t understand that these are cultivated and not wild plants
  • Children expect flowers to spring up again like rubber toys
  • this new phenomenon where people seem to be looking at life through a screen , and aren’t in the ‘reality’ (if there is a ‘reality’)
  • a small minority just don’t care and willfully toss litter, and destroy plants which they believe are there to serve them

I must look more into the Japanese tradition of Hanami. This is possibly what was going on, people spending a whole day under the blossom in groups is a tradition that I was not aware of.

Its is also interesting that in Buddhist tradition each blossom represents a fallen Samuri, it reminded me of my Leaf Project in which I am making each leaf represent a Londoner. In China the flowers signify hope and feminine power.

This photo shows how I managed to find a lone tree by the gate to photograph. There is always a way to get the shot!

As a photographer I feel dutybound to convey that picturesque Nature is not just a convenient backdrop, its the very fabric of our life, and future generations depend on it.

my photo from a quieter year

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