Tip-Toe Through the Tulips with Me

What kind of flower is fun to kiss?

Answer: Tulips

In April 2013 this tulip of mine was the cover of https://www.creationsmagazine.com but my attraction to tulips goes way back to gardening and photographing with film 30-40 years ago.

While Covid-19 has rendered us to isolation, it has given me time to do things I really haven’t had time for.

Instagram, for instance, has been an enigma that I am determined to conquer…or at least get my cyber-toes wet…and then there’s this blog…

Early in my photography days I searched for perfect blooms that were surrounded by complementary backgrounds because I want my images to be visually whole. The positive and negative space must fit like a visual glove.

The idea to make a blog about tulips has arisen because people have been enjoying the tulip images I’ve been posting on social media…so I urge you to share your tulip photos and let’s have a pandemic of tulips!

A blog spot was built into my website http://www.hollygordonphotographer.com and this is my first attempt at blog-posting myself.  My site manager posted a few blogs for me but here goes…



Tulips have been part of my life and focus even before I realized that their colorful and varied displays looked like dabs of paint!

My first morning in Monet’s glorious Giverny garden was cold and rainy and windy. The blooms were bedraggled and not at all as I had dreamed it would be. I wanted to cry and then rethought the situation locating a cluster of red tulips surrounded by yellow and green. I then photographed to capture the movement and the merging of color. I ultimately created this image by layering a series I took that first morning in Monet’s Garden. Little did Iknow that this experimentation would contribute to my  current creative process, Photo-Liminalism. http://www.hollygordonphotographer.com/portfolio/photo-liminalism/

And it was the tulip that cemented the Facebook connection to Ward Hooper that led to meeting face-to-face and begin a collaboration that has led to our book Parallel Perspective:The Brush/Lens Collaboration


One of the discoveries I made in Monet’s garden, Giverny, was that there is powerful beauty in decay. Up untill now I had searched for perfection to photograph…but now I was expanding the sensitivity of my vision to see beauty in blooms past their prime.

Explosion was one of the first of this new wave of aesthetic awareness. The petals of this tulip had fallen over to reveal this splendid kaleidoscopic pattern made by Nature and concealed from exquisite view until now.

The nighttime temperature must have dipped after a rain and caused these tulips to become semi-translucent opalescence. Whatever it was that happened to them created an unusual appearance that was beautiful and seductively voluptuous. I deliberately photographed this image out-of focus to soften the tonality. I named it Odalisque for its sensual qualities. When my patron first saw it he immediately responded with this passage of Baudelaire’s Triesses de la Lune, Sorrows of the Moon from Les Fleur du Mal Tr. Richard Howard:

Tonight the moon dreams still more languidly;
As if some beauty on her pillowed couch
Were brushing with a half-unconscious hand
The contour of her breasts before she fell

Asleep. On a silken avalanche of clouds
The moon, expiring, falls into a trance,
Impassive as the great white visions file
Past in procession like unfolding flowers.
Charles Baudelaire

And here is Le Danseur. I know I had French on my brain but don’t you think she looks like a dancer with her arms, gracefully outstretched and her skirt flowing…







These two images are my Chiaroscuro tulips—light out of darkness. The background of the lawn was far enough away form the light of the tulips to   render a nearly black background


Photographing M’Illumino was a pivotal moment in my creative life. Like Monet I am an avid gardener and painter….only the camera is my paintbrush and the viewfinder my canvas

Early works taken with film hinted at a painterly path not yet blossomed but the seeds were planted long ago. Using technology as tools much the way painters use paintbrushes and sculptors use chisels and gouges, has allowed them to germinate. Infused with the magic and vibrancy of Monet’s Garden and the Impressionistic perspective into the contemporary reality of Holly’s photographic vision. This exhibition is a visual choreography between artist and light, as well as a contemporary continuation of the historic legacy of Claude Monet and the Impressionist Movement.

Monet said to look beyond the bloom and I do a lot of that now. These are some of my creations:










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