There’s something about flowers that are just past their prime, on the cusp of beauty and decay that’s really attractive to me (is it because I am, myself, in Shakespeare’s words, about to “mellow and drop into the rotten mouth of death?”)
Technical addendum: I shot this with my portrait lens (56mm f1.2). The top image is stopped down to f8, so is mostly in focus. For the bottom image I wanted to focus on just a few of the front flowers and let the rest de-focus a bit so I opened up to f2 – I’m not sure why that had such a pronounced effect on the background color which is more accurate (but less neutral) in the top image.
Saw the Mapplethorpe exhibit while at the Guggenheim, which of course inspired me to shoot square portraits in black and white.