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> Nigella
© Sue Atkinson

I had been working on extreme close-up images of fruits and vegetables when I was given a small group of poppy seed heads which had decayed to such an extent that each was little more than a skeleton. In contrast with the ripe fullness of the mature pod - usually collected by flower arrangers for their decorative qualities - here was the bare framework of the structure. Liberated from its role in the reproductive cycle of the plant it had become a new form in its own right. Its potential interpretation and symbolism was multiple.

As I studied the bare framework through the isolation of the camera I saw increasingly the beauty of the minute detail while equally recognising the monumentality of the form as a whole. Here was a tiny fragile thing yet it took on for me the symbolism of the whole life cycle. Lasting beyond death in human terms, it had become a thing of even greater transient beauty before breaking down again to earth.

The potential interpretation and symbolism I found in these poppy seed heads inspired me to begin this on-going series of images of plant forms through maturity to decay.

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