Snapshot Saturday: the texture of tulips

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Last week, we were at the Bowes Museum.  This place, with its unusual history and exhilarating present deserves a post all of its own soon.

It happened to be the first day of ‘Turkish Tulips’.  This exhibition though, isn’t displayed in a dedicated space in the museum.  Instead, the artworks chosen have been sited next to existing displays, situated on a grand staircase, or even smuggled into other exhibitions on display. It’s brilliant.  These juxtapositions illuminate both the permanent collection and the works chosen for the exhibition.

Look at this.  We found it in a room of paintings largely from the 17th and eighteenth centuries.  Well, maybe this photo doesn’t convince, but in real life, in glowing, luminous detail, it did. It’s a Dutch 17th century still life, right?

Five tulips in a Wan-Li vase, Rob and Nick Carter, 2016.

Well, no.  It was created not by a Dutchman in the 17th century, but by a British couple, Rob and Nick Carter in 2016.  This is no oil painting on board or canvas, but an image on an iPad.


Stop.  Look.  Take your time.  Watch as those tulips, with their waxy-textured petals and burnished stems gradually lose their lustre.  Their colour fades.  The stems become limp. Later still, those once glossy petals take on the texture and appearance of crisp autumn leaves as the exhausted stems slump slowly to the ground.  In some 25 minutes you have watched the life and death of a vase of tulips, filmed over a ten day period.

That film might have been speeded up.  But we, as viewers were slowed down.  And having taken the time to watch this captivating film, we were ready to give other works in the same gallery our fuller attention too.

This is my response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: textures.  As photos, mine don’t really pass muster this week.  Taking a photo of an iPad image in a public gallery is not really all that easy though.