Matt's Met Flowers: Discovering Perfection

Matt's Met Flowers: Discovering Perfection

Maxwell Ryan
May 19, 2005

This week I had the chance to visit our photo studio [at the MET] and watch some of our objects being photographed. For years I have looked at the finished product, had a vague idea of the time it took to get the perfect shot, but never actually saw the process.

In a room with the most advanced digital equipment I saw the intended object. The perimeter was crowded with stands, clamps, reflectors and pieces of vellum. It was a halo in the form of utter chaos, the object in the center of it all with a light shining down. Placed upon a pristine gray backdrop, it was a spot of calm and composure.

Then the button as pushed, the flash blinding, and almost instantly the image of perfection appeared on the screen.

I went downstairs to enjoy my break and take photos in the morning. This week there are dogwood branches mixed with a green flower that I did not ask the name of - the green and hot red are almost the same value and they pop back and forth between negative and positive.

I looked at the flowers and realized that they live in utter chaos, days of people and noise swirling around them. And when I look closely, and can shut out everything around them, I find myself looking at a quiet perfection.

At night, after working to tile my kitchen and paint my walls, I lay asleep in my bed while the Bronx rages around me. I know it is raging. The nightly car alarms, the yells, police cars and helicoptors never fail to remind. This chaos serves like the many clamps and reflectors of the objects in the photo studio. I look over at my own developed image of a perfection; my wife as she sleeps in a room we have made for ourselves. MN

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