PROJECT: VINES ON THE WALL

The backdrop for these images is a precast concrete wall about 70 feet long. The wall features decorative oval cutouts, which make it a perfect climbing structure for two vines that grow like wildfire in the northeast, Sweet autumn Clematis and Boston Ivy. The following photos were taken over a week of mixed sun and rain.

Sweet Autumn Clematis: Dry

In August and September, the top and sides of the wall are barely visible under the growth of verdant leaves and star-shaped flowers. By the end of October, the clematis petals have fallen away, exposing pinwheel-shaped seed clusters. Each seed is equipped with a feathery “tail” that aids in dispersal. On the day of the shoot, the wispy feathers were especially silky and gave the seeds magnificent grace. To me, the seeds resembled members of a dance troupe, and my goal was to capture moments of fluidity and elegance—almost as if the “performers” were caught mid-pose in a beautifully choreographed production.

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Sweet Autumn Clematis: Post Rain

After a light rain shower, the scene on the wall changes dramatically as water drops collect between the individual seeds and along the tails. The whispy tails become matted down and the drops of water resemble blown glass orbs delicately attached to the seeds. Most interesting to me, the scene subtly transforms as drops randomly fall of their own weight and new ones form. In this shoot, I was especially attracted to the contrast between the predictable pattern of the seed shapes and the unpredictable appearance, and disappearance, of the water drops. The dynamic between chaos and order play out until the drops evaporate and the feathery tails regain their full stature.

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Boston Ivy: Post Rain

To the right of the section occupied by the clematis vines, a thick tangle of Boston Ivy lays claim to the wall. From June through August, the ivy leaves are deep green and cover the wall like a dense, luxurious robe. In the fall, the leaves turn purple and crimson before dropping from the vine's runners and revealing clumps of dark blue fruit. After the rain, the berries make for interesting subjects. They have enough surface area to support multiple drops and their mottled blue skin contrats nicely with the reddish runners.

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