A moment of withering beauty caught in an instant and revealed forever in expansive detail. Isamu Sawa’s striking macro photographic images of dying flowers are proof that the art of master photographic craftsmanship is, in fact, not dead. Sawa’s new series confirms that technical brilliance, years of experience and a great eye still count.
Sawa first plucked a discarded flower from his florist wife’s studio intending to embark on a technical exercise. He used a process called focus stacking, taking up to 25 close-up or macro images with graduating depths of field and then combined them with complicated software to produce a single image in crisp, uniform focus. With encouragement from a friend he enlarged a single colour print and was immediately aware he had produced something special.
“I was blown away. The flower looked so beautiful – the texture, the detail, the subtle palette of colours. It was something I’d never seen before.”
Sawa’s treatment of these withering flowers – just days or weeks after they featured in wedding ceremonies around the country – make them even more breathtaking and special. It is a slow, painstaking and complex process.
“These are precious images,” says Sawa, “I’ve rescued these flowers so in a way I feel like I’ve given them another life.”
Born in Japan and raised in Australia, Isamu Sawa has been a commercial photographer for more than 20 years. With a reputation for technical ability and a keen eye for composition he has worked for a host of commercial and editorial clients, including Holden, Mercedes Benz, Subaru, Domaine Chandon, Jack Daniel’s, Penfolds, GQ, The Age Melbourne Magazine and Vogue. He has also photographed well known identities including fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, actor Geoffrey Rush and former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
Known to friends simply as ‘Issey’ he lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife Basia and their baby daughter, Hannah Rose.