#5 Golden issueInterview

Artistic
eerie garden

Artistic
eerie garden

Vee Speers fell in love with photography at an early age, assisting her father in the darkroom, mesmerised by seeing his portraits appear like magic. Her famous portraits feel ethereal through their fresh new hues, not natural enough to be the mirror of our reality, but animated by a powerful breath of new life_______.

What is it about plants and flowers that inspires you most in your work?

“My most recent work Botanica is a series that symbolizes a moment of peaceful solitude in a world that is becoming increasingly complex, creating a quiet space away from the chaos of everyday life, like a secret garden that I am quietly cultivating. Adopting the same technique as for my portraits of people, I have
photographed the flowers in black and white, then subtly coloured them to enhance and transformed them. The portraits feel ethereal through their fresh new hues, not natural enough to be the mirror of our reality, but animated by a powerful breath of new life.”

What is it about plants and flowers that inspires you most in your work?

“My most recent work Botanica is a series that symbolizes a moment of peaceful solitude in a world that is becoming increasingly complex, creating a quiet space away from the chaos of everyday life, like a secret garden that I am quietly cultivating. Adopting the same technique as for my portraits of people, I have
photographed the flowers in black and white, then subtly coloured them to enhance and transformed them. The portraits feel ethereal through their fresh new hues, not natural enough to be the mirror of our reality, but animated by a powerful breath of new life.”

‘THE SMELL OF FRESH FLOWERS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING SLOWS DOWN FOR A MOMENT AND I DON’T HAVE A WORRY IN THE WORLD_______.’

Flowercast

Tulip
Columbine
Lysianthus
Amaryllis
Protea
Hyacinth

‘THE SMELL OF FRESH FLOWERS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING SLOWS DOWN FOR A MOMENT AND I DON’T HAVE A WORRY IN THE WORLD_______.’

What’s your earliest memory of plants and flowers during Christmas?

“Growing up in Australia, we celebrate Christmas with all the English traditions, except that it’s in the middle of summer! I love the smell of the yellow wattle, jasmine, frangipani flowers and the leaves from the eucalyptus trees in the heat of the day.”

An inspiring way to wrap flowers you’d give someone for Christmas?

“Hand-made paper is always perfect to wrap flowers, or printed rice-paper, with a gold or silver ribbon.”

When you think of a field of flowers, what flowers do you imagine?

“I love to see green fields filled with daisies. I grew up in a small town in Australia, and spent many hours with my sisters in the fields stringing daisies together to make necklaces for each other.”

Flowercast

Tulip
Columbine
Lysianthus
Amaryllis
Protea
Hyacinth

What’s your earliest memory of plants and flowers during Christmas?

“Growing up in Australia, we celebrate Christmas with all the English traditions, except that it’s in the middle of summer! I love the smell of the yellow wattle, jasmine, frangipani flowers and the leaves from the eucalyptus trees in the heat of the day.”

An inspiring way to wrap flowers you’d give someone for Christmas?

“Hand-made paper is always perfect to wrap flowers, or printed rice-paper, with a gold or silver ribbon.”

When you think of a field of flowers, what flowers do you imagine?

“I love to see green fields filled with daisies. I grew up in a small town in Australia, and spent many hours with my sisters in the fields stringing daisies together to make necklaces for each other.”

Sounds so idyllic. Can you tell us more about your childhood in Australia?

“The inland town where I grew up was very dry and hot, and so on weekends I spent most of my childhood barefoot, climbing trees and on the swing out in the back garden. We spent a lot of time together playing dress-up, and pretending to be characters out of stories we’d read. We made our own costumes from whatever we could find around the house. A wheelbarrow filled with cushions and fabric which was then covered with an enormous cardboard box would become the Princess carriage. My little sister sat in it and I would push her around and around the garden until I dropped. I grew up surrounded with nature: the massive Ghost Gum, Lemon Gum and Blue Gum trees, bottle-brush, wattle, the strange Banksia bush, and of course, wildflowers.”

Which flower reminds you of your mother?

“Gardenias remind me of my mother. She carried a huge bouquet of scented gardenias on her wedding day and they remained her favourite flowers throughout her life.”

What’s your favourite flower store?

“My favourite flower shop is L’Atelier. 56 Rue Pernety, 75014 in Paris. Véronique, the florist, is a true artist, and she can always find the most obscure and interesting flowers for my photos.”

On what unexpected place do you like to put your flowers?

“They always look fantastic in the bathroom. A simple bouquet of all white flowers.”

Sounds so idyllic. Can you tell us more about your childhood in Australia?

“The inland town where I grew up was very dry and hot, and so on weekends I spent most of my childhood barefoot, climbing trees and on the swing out in the back garden. We spent a lot of time together playing dress-up, and pretending to be characters out of stories we’d read. We made our own costumes from whatever we could find around the house. A wheelbarrow filled with cushions and fabric which was then covered with an enormous cardboard box would become the Princess carriage. My little sister sat in it and I would push her around and around the garden until I dropped. I grew up surrounded with nature: the massive Ghost Gum, Lemon Gum and Blue Gum trees, bottle-brush, wattle, the strange Banksia bush, and of course, wildflowers.”

Which flower reminds you of your mother?

“Gardenias remind me of my mother. She carried a huge bouquet of scented gardenias on her wedding day and they remained her favourite flowers throughout her life.”

What’s your favourite flower store?

“My favourite flower shop is L’Atelier. 56 Rue Pernety, 75014 in Paris. Véronique, the florist, is a true artist, and she can always find the most obscure and interesting flowers for my photos.”

On what unexpected place do you like to put your flowers?

“They always look fantastic in the bathroom. A simple bouquet of all white flowers.”

Photography
Vee Speers

Text
Angel Trinidad and Rosanne Loffeld

‘NATURE SYMBOLIZES A MOMENT OF PEACEFUL SOLITUDE IN A WORLD THAT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY COMPLEX_______.’

What’s your most romantic memory on plants and flowers?

“I have many romantic memories of flowers, as my husband often surprises me for no reason at all, with a fabulous bouquet of flowers he has selected himself.”

Which flower reminds you of a beautiful and warm atmosphere?

“Whenever I travel to exotic countries especially in Asia I see all kinds of strange shapes and colours in plants and flowers that I don’t see in Europe, but it is the potency of the fragranced flowers such as frangipani and jasmine that remind me most of warm climates.”

The smell of fresh flowers makes me feel...

“...like everything slows down for a moment and I don’t have a worry in the world.”

What’s the most stunning thing you’ve seen with ‘decaying’ flowers?

“Tulips are one of my favourite flowers, not only for their visually graphic quality, but because they are beautiful and interesting from the beginning till decay. No matter how old and faded they become they are always beautiful, like an elegant woman who keeps her beauty until the end.”

What do you think is the most memorable with flowers you’ve ever seen?

“I’ll never forget when my husband surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of my favourite flowers measuring over a meter for my 40th birthday. I felt on top of the world_______!”

‘NATURE SYMBOLIZES A MOMENT OF PEACEFUL SOLITUDE IN A WORLD THAT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY COMPLEX_______.’

What’s your most romantic memory on plants and flowers?

“I have many romantic memories of flowers, as my husband often surprises me for no reason at all, with a fabulous bouquet of flowers he has selected himself.”

Which flower reminds you of a beautiful and warm atmosphere?

“Whenever I travel to exotic countries especially in Asia I see all kinds of strange shapes and colours in plants and flowers that I don’t see in Europe, but it is the potency of the fragranced flowers such as frangipani and jasmine that remind me most of warm climates.”

The smell of fresh flowers makes me feel...

“...like everything slows down for a moment and I don’t have a worry in the world.”

What’s the most stunning thing you’ve seen with ‘decaying’ flowers?

“Tulips are one of my favourite flowers, not only for their visually graphic quality, but because they are beautiful and interesting from the beginning till decay. No matter how old and faded they become they are always beautiful, like an elegant woman who keeps her beauty until the end.”

What do you think is the most memorable with flowers you’ve ever seen?

“I’ll never forget when my husband surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of my favourite flowers measuring over a meter for my 40th birthday. I felt on top of the world_______!”

Photography
Vee Speers

Text
Angel Trinidad and Rosanne Loffeld

A selection from Vee’s timeline, @vee_speers