Botanicals, Intimate Portraits by Laurie Tennent

Along Birmingham’s Rouge River Trail,  local photographer Laurie Tennent gave our city a marvelous art installation, City Bloom: Birmingham. The nearly three-mile trail features over a dozen of Tennent’s botanical portraits. I joined a tour of her work sponsored by our synagogue. Laurie became a professional photographer by accident. Two of them in fact. She planned to  become a marine biologist and had enough credits to graduate high school a year early.

Then came the accidents: she was thrown from the the back of a pick up truck, breaking her back. While recovering from that she was stung by a  man o’ war. Setting aside early graduation, she spent senior year taking art classes.  She fell in love with photography, applied to Detroit’s Center of Creative Studies, and  the rest is history.

Laurie Tennent’s flower portraits, all done in her studio under very controlled lighting, are magnificent.  Installed along the trail, the photographs, printed on metal and enlarged to 30″ x 40″ or bigger, become part of the landscape. Ferns rise leviathan-like from the forest floor; a curl of veronica takes center stage amidst a stand of woodland maples; astrantia shimmers white in the sunlight.

I had promised myself that I was simplifying this month. NO book purchases. I made it six days into June. This is so much more than a book. It is a journey of wonder, on the trail or off. Check out Laurie’s work at Laurie Tennent Bontanicals.

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