Flower Portrait Series is a Modern Take on an Ancient Japanese Art

Red tulips in water and mist

Inspired by the quietness displayed in Japanese ikebana arrangements, photographer Robert Peek’s images display a calm, mystic, and lively radiance that captivates viewers’ attention and curiosities.

Utilizing a vast array of luminous flora, smoke, and powders, Peek’s images pay homage to the principles of the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangements, highlighting balance and harmony while also showcasing his distinct dreamy expressions in movement.

bright red dahlias and mist with dark background

Apples in mist with dark colored background

In 1984 when Orwellian views of the world were prolific, Peek sought beauty in the world around him and founded his photo studio in Rotterdam. The Netherlands-based artist focused on and developed a love for lighting and composition. Currently, Peek has spent years working as an advertisement photographer while consistently showcasing his skills of light, purity, and smooth edging. But when not working on various brand projects, he finds solace and serenity in his practice of gardening.

“I grow flowers in my garden and these were a good inspiration to photograph,” Peek tells PetaPixel.

goldenrold sunflowers and green leaves in mist

In a series of images featuring flowers and vegetation of all kinds, Peek’s works immerse viewers into a hazy elemental journey full of playful mixes of color, mass, and trick of the eye lighting. Part renaissance painting, part organic luminescent floral exhibition, Peeks shots utilize the natural flows of water, smoke, and ice.

Dark and light blue flowers against a misty background

fading red flora in water and mist

Misty yellow and dark blue flowers looking as if evaporating

Capturing “spontaneous” movements, Peek’s shots show flowers that seem to jump, mysteriously float, or gently evaporate against a solid background, all within a simplistic studio setup,

“All the work is done in the studio with mostly one or two lights. I do a lot of different things, for the jumping flowers I use holi powder, I also use smoke or dry ice and I shoot underwater also.” Peek explains.

'Jumping' pink dahlias in holi power

Purple flowers in purple holi powder

magenta flowers in pink holi powder

These methods accompanied by a minimalistic aesthetic, give his images a flawless look, something that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual process.

“It often takes a lot of trial and error to get a good result…[but] I like to keep the photos simple with the build-up,” he says.

As for equipment, Peek started with a Hasselblad but recently has switched to Fujiflim.

“I don’t care about the brand, but I do like working in medium formats,” he says.

Green flora in white mist and dart background

blooming dahlia and dark colored background

white flowers with dark green stem against a dark green background

The effects are calming images invoking contemplation, feelings of peace, solitude, and even melancholy, a trademark of Peek’s other works.

Feedback on his flora projects has been positive on Instagram and Behance, which inspires Peek to keep seeking inspiration and refuge in his gardens.

Thistles in mist

For more from Robert Peek, make sure to visit his website, Instagram, or Behance

Image credits:Robert Peek