Tea Garden

I love all the gift-givers in my life, as I have received some profoundly strange gifts over the years. One year my father gave me a switchboard that allows you to program with a bundle of wires. My mother  just flat-out made me playdoh out of stuff in the cabinet on lazy afternoon as a child. I’ll spare you the gifts I have received from friends and intimates in an era of cameras on every phone (but oh, what a time to be alive).

A fairly recent gift I received from my parents was a sample of flowering teas and a glass teapot. For the uninitiated, flowering teas are fragrant blossoms bound into balls. As the balls steep in hot water, they blossom inside the glass teapot – to the delight and amusement of anyone easily delighted and amused.

On an unrelated note, I was delighted and amused so much by the teas that I instantly set out to try to take a few pictures. I had bought a lightbox long before, and decided to finally put it to good use blocking or diffusing light and controlling the background.

This was easily one of the most physically demanding shoots I have done. To get the light to glow inside the teapot, I had to wake up early, set the stage while I still had strong perpendicular light (I was in a highrise with a eastward window), and bend like a pretzel to get these tight shots. But it’s that kind of consideration and backbreaking effort turns mute balls of jasmine into xenoriums.




  • 2014 . Frontier Age . Seattle
  • Nikon D40