I took this photo of iris in front of a cracked foundation wall in 2004 when my friend, Russ Good and I went to Jerome on a photo-shoot. It’s a popular image and has sold well. The photo’s story is the contrast—the softness of iris petals against the hardness of the concrete foundation and the vibrant purple flowers in front of dull concrete. It also speaks about longevity. The family that planted the flowers and the house they decorated are gone but the bulbs put out new flowers each spring without a caretaker. Getting this shot was difficult. I remember lying on my stomach in the street to focus the image on my 4×5’s ground glass while Russ stood guard over me. Each time I visit Jerome, I look for similar setups and I found another one that is this week’s image.
I titled it Art and Flowers and I shot it from the sidewalk in front of the Hilltop Deli building on SR-89. Because my newer camera has a folding view-screen, I didn’t have to get down on the ground this time. Getting down is one thing but—at my age—getting up is another set of variables entirely. The hollyhocks seem to be popular in Jerome this year, they were in gardens everywhere. I selected this specimen because of the jagged wall behind it and the dark crawl space it frames. As you study the image, does it seem like someone is watching you? Well … you’re right. As I was shooting this, I tried different angles and in the middle of shifting positions, I noticed a painting on the wall inside the crawl space. It’s a portrait of a young lady—her chin resting in her hands—painted inside the opening in such a way that you don’t see it as you walk along the sidewalk. I don’t know who the artist was or how long it’s been there, but it’s not just graffiti. After I saw it, I knew I had to frame my last shot so that the hollyhock was in front—but not obscuring the painting—and I set my exposure to make the eyes barely visible in the background. It’s like one of the apparitions that Jerome is famous for. If you visit the version on my home-page—while this image is on display there this month—more of her shape revels as the image lightens.
You can see a larger version of Art and Flowers on its Web Page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing my newest entry and come back next week when I post another Jerome photograph.
Until next time — jw
Ps: Thanks to Glenda Meyers and Sharon Roberts for flower identification.