Seeing Sunflowers

I’ve been aware that some of my recent photographs contain sunflower imagery, and had intended at some point to produce a blog featuring representations drawn from street photography and documentary shots. Then on my birthday, which took place the other day, I received some great gifts from my sons; including bottles of my favourite aperitifs and a bouquet of bright flowers brimming with sunflowers. So I took it as a sign; it was time to mix the personal with my own observations:

My birthday, August 2022. Photograph by Stephen Moon

Back in 2019 I painted a portrait of my younger son Dan; whilst the piece was progressing I felt inspired to surround his face with sunflowers. The composite shot below shows the work in progress:

Dan & Sunflowers, 2019

Below, a couple of domestic, shadowy still life photographs, taken seven years apart. The first is a partial self portrait:

Dancing with Sunflowers, 2015

Next, a few sunflower images selected from my years with The London Lucumi Choir In December 2008 I visited Cuba on a choir trip. The still life below was taken at the San Lazaro Sanctuary in Havana, where the Catholic saint is syncretised with Babalu Aye, a deity from the Afro Cuban religion. During December many people make a pilgrimage to the sanctuary and pray for healing and good health:

Below, a photograph featuring Daniela Rosselson de Armas, director of The London Lucumi Choir, wearing a sunflower-print head wrap:

I have several photos of Daniela in different sunflower print outfits as well as pictures taken at her home that feature the actual flowers. Here’s an example of sunflowers as part of the mise-en-scène; a portrait of former choir member Irina taken in Daniela’s home back in 2012:

The following images were taken during a Lucumi religious ceremony called a Guiro for Yemaya, held at Rottingdean in 2021. The display of offerings include sunflowers:

Gathering Offerings for Yemaya, 2021

Below, Jennyfer makes her way towards the sea with her offerings – the Rottingdean pebbles are pretty painful to walk on:

Alina and her daughter relaxing on the beach in matching sunflower outfits:

Next a suitably colourful backdrop for the London Colour Walk at Spitalfields Market. On the right, Colour Walk organiser Florent Bidois:

The following three photos feature sunflowers as costume, seen at this years Pride festival.

Below, London Pride 2022

And a couple from Brighton Pride earlier this August:

Both the above images feature sunflowers as part of a headdress. The first photo also includes rainbow imagery with the open fan and the multicoloured ice lollies. In the second photograph the sunflower headdress and blue and yellow outfit is a homage to Ukraine.

An illusionistic street abstract seen in Canonbury. Looking at the window of an old yellow VW camper van, the fake sunflowers appear to merge with the reflected houses and trees.:

Finally, another surreal, illusionistic photo where the man’s oversized visor reflects the street. Within this streetscape is my own reflection, taking his photo. He wears a floral paisley shirt and a lanyard decorated with sunflowers:

Links:

London Colour Walk https://oldspitalfieldsmarket.com/events/colour-walk

London Lucumi Choir https://londonlucumichoir.com


Also published on Medium.

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