Leaf, England

Picture/Story: Charlie Waite
December 29, 2021
The Leaf, England, 2015 | Edition of 50 | £1400 exc. VAT

"Years ago, I read a quote from John Keats saying that he would like to 'take a greater part in the existence of things'. I feel that photography is so much about noticing, responding, interpreting, relishing and wondering at, and very much about playing a profound part in the 'existence of things'.


In late October 2016, I had noticed this particular giant rhubarb leaf just beside my office. After mid-morning, as the temperature increased, this magnificent leaf began to change shape, and its outer edges began to furl in towards the centre. I was mesmerised by the beauty of this process. Within an hour or so, the curling process had ended, at which point, I knew that I had to attempt a photograph. It was no longer a mere rhubarb leaf; it had now become a thing of beauty.


There was a muddled background beyond, and I knew that to present and pronounce this marvellous 'living' thing, I should create a black background with nothing to distract the viewer. Thankfully, I had some good quality black velvet, and in less than ten minutes, I had stretched the cloth across two stands to bring it tight. With no wind, and very low diffused light, I was able to allow this extraordinary leaf to tell me how beautiful it could be as it drew near to its last days.


 All this may sound fanciful, but I certainly took part in the 'existence' of this wonderful leaf, albeit towards the end of its life, when, paradoxically, it looked more beautiful than in its youth."


Charlie Waite


Film CFV50C Digital Back

Camera Hasselblad CWC

Lens 150mm

Exposure 1/8th sec f.16

About the author

Luke Whitaker

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