A Year of Roses

I was walking down Portobello Road last week when I came across a woman wearing a vibrant animal and red rose floral print outfit; her hair was tied back and crowned with a headband decorated with roses, a bit reminiscent of Frida Kahlo’s style. Her name was Mona:

This got me thinking about other photographs I’d taken recently that contain elements of rose imagery. The following photos, taken within the last twelve months, are an unconscious visual journey sharing the theme of roses.

Above, multi-talented writer and poet Rose Rouse standing in front of a painting called The Raft (1985) by the late Paula Rego. Wearing flowers in her hair is part of Rose’s signature look. Taken at the Tate Britain in July 2021.

Next, a self-portrait with a backdrop of roses taken in a restroom in Palma de Mallorca, late August 2021:

Above, a front door in Parliament Hill decorated with a skull and red rose wreath. I imagine this was in celebration of Halloween or the Mexican Day of the Dead, or both; seen in October 2021.

Later that month I spotted a woman dressed in pink sitting in a café on the Kings Road, framed by a wall of synthetic roses:

The above image was taken in London’s Grosvenor Square in December 2021 at a temporary installation by designer Anya Hindmarch called The Ever After Garden featuring thousands of illuminated white roses. You could dedicate a rose to commemorate a loved one with donations going the Royal Marsden cancer charity.

Next, three photographs where fabric roses form part of a costume or outfit The first was taken in February at this year’s Venice carnival; the roses contributing elaborate embellishment to the 18th century style costumes:

The following two photographs were shot in April 2022 at the London Colour Walk in Spitalfields. Below, designer Florent Bidois sports a Carmen Miranda-like headdress:

Some detail from the Colour Walk – I was drawn to the rose-adorned flip flops worn with yellow tights:

On Sunday I walked through Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in London’s Regents park; it was a beautiful day and the park was full of people having picnics. At the Rose Garden this brightly attired woman was posing by some red roses and having her photo taken by a friend when I signalled I’d also like to photograph her:

Below, a still life with an orange rose and fallen petals:

A still life – dried rose petals in an Iranian bowl. The flowers had been given to me by my elder son for Mother’s Day this year and I decided to preserve the memory:

And finally, today, an encounter on Hampstead Heath with a super-cute toddler in a floral-inspired outfit complete with pink bowed turban and rose-printed trousers. She was reading a Disney book called Be Adventurous:

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