The photographic movement we most often associate with Impressionism is probably Pictorialism, the two aesthetics emerging hand-in-hand at the turn of the 20th century. New York-based photographer Chelsea McNamara has found a way to thoroughly modernize the ethereal world once populated by Claude Monet and Alfred Stieglitz with her utterly enchanting double exposure photographs of the blossoms that now grow in Monet’s own Garden in Giverny, France.
McNamara’s style, which she describes as simple, feminine, and colorful, is anything but antiquated, and yet she conjures the presence of Monet himself, as he must have been wandering through the garden a century earlier. Using his Water Lilies as a point of reference, she draws upon the emotional currents of the place as much as its current reality, overlaying frames of differently colored buds to evoke not only the sights of the place but also its atmosphere, its scents and its textures. The shoot, she suggests, is less about the flowers themselves than it is about the man who once painted them.
Since returning home from Giverny, McNamara has found that the soft, pastel note of the double exposures extends well into some of her studio work, and at times, she still calls upon the influence of the Impressionist father. “A flower is nature’s way of sprinkling the earth with renewed beauty,” says the artist.
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.