Flowers on the Water

This article originally appeared in Little Revolution Magazine (Oct / Nov 2016)

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Marcel Proust

            The call of the water is powerful, full of danger and mystery.  Lakes can be filled with frogs, salamanders, water lilies and flying bugs of all kinds.  Lakes can also be filled with children creating worlds of wonder from the water and flowers.  The lake for this shoot is Lake Oswego.  Originally settled by the Clackamas Indians, It is named after Oswego, New York. The lake is used for boating, swimming, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and, of course, childhood exploration. 

            Lauren Clark of Portland, Oregon is featured in this photo series.  At the time of this photo shoot she was six years old and has now matured into “Seven, people.  I’m SEVEN.” While Lauren had been in a raft before, she had never been in a canoe and viewed the entire shoot as the best day ever.  Having to balance a crown of flowers on her head while facing towards the camera took practice.  Lauren’s mom was in the water while the shoot was going on.  Her mom would steer the canoe into the shooting location and then swim out of camera range while the photographer took the photo. Lauren occasionally asked why her mom got to swim while she had to stay “dry and neat!”

            Sarah Williams was the photographer for this shoot.  Sarah uses a Nikon D700, usually with a 50mm f1.4 lens.  For these images, Sarah rode a water bicycle in the lake while carrying a camera worth thousands of dollars.  She also directed the placement of the canoe in front of particular background images and locations while balancing her camera and needing to peddle herself into position.  Sarah lives in Portland, Oregon and shoots lifestyle and wedding photos.  Her work can be viewed at sarahwilliamsphoto.com

            The floral display was created by Katie Stewart.  Katie runs a floral design company called the Dearhouse Collective in McMinneville, Oregon.  She lives in a house that is more than one hundred years old and enjoys being in the middle of Oregon’s wine country.  On weekends she is often exploring vintage stores, farmers markets or the local dense forests with her family.  More of Katie’s work can be viewed at dearhousecollective.com

            Katie describes her career. ”I was trained as an apprentice for a Oregon based floral shop, called Ponderosa & Thyme. Being introduced to floral design and color theory was an amazing opportunity. I love creating with my hands. What initially drew me to floral design was actually getting into trees and bushes and creating a piece of art. I have always felt so connected to nature. It really calms me.  

I typically work as a floral designer for weddings and events.  I feel happy being able to create with flowers and to work in collaboration with other creatives. I was deeply inspired by the ethereal concept of this shoot. It also involved a few of my favorite elements- water, florals and children- so it was quite ideal. For materials, I was able to wander local flower farms and pull together a lush color palette to design from. I wanted to create something embodying the romance of classical watercolor paintings as well as reflecting the playfulness of the children.”