Floriography Reseeded: Modern Musings of Traditional Language
I keep tokens – items that speak to me in the secret language of remembrance. Broken acorns in my jewelry box, tiny folded airplanes in my desk drawer, and flower petals pressed into my favorite childhood book – the sight of them floods my memory with expression of times past and connections to those I love. Objects and favorite things can illustrate sentiment differently than words alone might express – communicating strong sentiment without written indication. Developed long before instant messaging or email, floriography carried delicately arranged thoughts – open to personal interpretation. The message would fade with the blooms, perhaps only remaining pressed flat in a book as a token to the receiver of the intended dispatch of emotion. Similarly to the art of floriography, I seek to write out my impressions through visual communication rooted in memory, musings, and experience.
This body of photographs blends self-portraiture and still life displaying personal reflections stemming from traditional floral language. The art of floriography, or the “language of flowers,” in Victorian times was an art of visual association in which blooms carried messages of emotions far greater than the elegance of their appearance and their declarations of love. I often find myself stumbling in conversation and failing to express myself well with words. This historical method of bearing a poetic message prods me to revisit the sentimentality behind the original English meanings while at the same time acting on my own emotive reflections. Floriography has become forgotten, outdated, and even cursed by trite cliché, but through modern representation I seek to transcend common displays and introduce the traditional language through encouraging the present-day viewer to reflect on how the narrative of their own response might appear.
Each floral image represents the traditional floriography definition, but the nature of the abstract is lyrically indicative of modern musings rather than overtly nostalgic. My presence, in each diptych, illustrates an individual musing of each traditional emotion reflecting how they have shaped my personal identity.
Often sentiment becomes both the high and low moments marking a path in life, but by suggesting a touch of fanciful perception that speaks as flowers do – brightly for only a moment – I revisit the truth that every encounter is simply a step to the next response. Ultimately, like everyone else, I am in control of my story.