Capturing the Perfect Shot

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Orchids in Live Action Photography. Photo by Cliff Roles Photography.

At Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, there is always more than meets the eye. A collection of rare flora is never just an assortment of tropical flowers, but a gateway into a different kind of art. A living, breathing exhibit. This year, Selby Gardens’ renowned Orchid Show is just that. Titled The Orchid Show 2022: Capturing the Perfect Shot, continues on the institution's year of photography-themed exhibitions, but with a special twist.

“Every year we have our major Orchid Show featuring installations of living orchids alongside accompanying art and examples of our research collection in our museum. In 2022, we made photography our focus throughout our exhibitions – Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry, and Light and Flora Imaginaria: The Flower in Contemporary Photography – which makes the Orchid Show the crescendo of the year of the photo,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “This year’s show will feature our own collection of photography taken for research purposes, but it is without a doubt fine art as well.”

The photography is that of a dedicated team of volunteers, who specialize in the essential task of floral photography. While the results of their work have artistic benefits – the various collections of rare orchids are shot in studio lighting, with the same approach a professional photographer would take with shooting a still life – they are a crucial component to the functioning of Selby Gardens as a research institute. As Selby Gardens is home to one of the world’s foremost collections of rare orchids, the floral photography of these volunteers is crucial to disseminating scientific information about these plants across the globe.

“For years we've had a core group that does this for us on a regular basis, documenting our rare living plant collections when they come to flower and the photos are just stunning. So we felt that they absolutely merited their own exhibition,” says Rominiecki. “In our conservatory, we will have hundreds of orchids in flower, installed in vignettes linked to photography. In our museum we will have large scale prints of photos of our own rare orchids.To put our own research photography in a museum exhibit really underscores the fine art nature of what we do here in addition to the world renowned research that we are known for.”

On view October 15 – December 4. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, 941-366-5731.

Pictured: Orchids in Live Action Photography. Photo by Cliff Roles Photography.

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