Purple Coneflowers
Durham, North Carolina
40x50 inch plex-mounted C-print in sculptor Steve Cote custom frame

I suspect I will always have a fondness for flowers at night because they are what lured me back into taking pictures after a particularly rough couple of years of family illnesses. Before flowers at night, I was principally a photojournalist and documentarian whose primary subject matter was people. Seeing daffodils by streetlight was my conversion moment. By day it was a can-do, bright little flower, but the nighttime illumination revealed the true condition of its petals—scarred, torn, and weary. When I was photographing it, it felt like a portrait shoot. Solo and paired flowers soon gave way to rich, boisterous mobs of flowers. This particular bed was in my neighbors' backyard. They knew I would be coming to photograph while they were out of town, but I didn't think to ask them how to turn off their motion light. Fearing that a long exposure begun with the motion light off would be ruined at the last moment by an errant moth flying in front of the sensor, I chose instead to use the motion light as part of the composition and kept it triggered for the 20 minutes needed by walking back and forth across the lawn every four minutes or so.


©MJ Sharp / www.mjsharp.com


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