Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Focus on hybrids

Your favourite orchid blooms. Huzzah.

Try to take a photograph? It’s hard.

Some chaps are better. Justin Guariglia, an award-winning photographer and contributing editor of National Geographic Traveller is an expert in high-resolution shots and now he’s focusing on orchids.

His latest project is exploring hybridisation and the synthetic world through hybrid orchids. Has he read THE LOST ORCHID?

DBKU Orchid Garden, managed by Orchidwoods Co, the company started by Au Yong’s father, the late ‘Orchid King’ Datuk Au Yong Nang Yip, in 1969 is all about orchid breeding. There are 75,000 plants comprising 82 genera in the 15.4 acre wide park.

Read the article about his fancy cameras and such. Unbelievably, he’ll take 1,000 shots before he moves on to the next orchid selected by Au Yong who, between him and his late father, have created a couple of hundred unique hybrids from orchids collected around the world.

‘While there are 25-30,000 species of wild orchids, there may be a quarter million or more hybrids – and that blew my mind, because it means over 100 years, people have been breeding orchids,’ he said when asked why he chose to feature hybrid orchids and not jungle or wild orchids.

He takes the photography to a different abstract level. Each flower is held up to the camera and photographed to enhance their symmetry and perfection. The editing process may take up to a year and once he’s made his selection, each flower will receive up to 100 hours of retouching.

In his words: ‘Whether you love your work or not, you will remember. Whether you recognise the leaves or the veins of the leaves, love is being able to recognise one leaf from another.’