Flowers enthrall me and I love to see bundles of them cradled in people’s arms. For the last few years, I’ve been photographing people with bouquets throughout New York City. Whenever I see someone with flowers, I ask them if I can take their picture. They almost always say “Yes!”
Flowers clearly make people happy. Psychologists have documented that flowers encourage more positive social behavior and improve peoples’ moods. I’ve noticed these cheerful moods many times as I take these photographs. When I ask who the flowers are for, people seem eager to share the reasons for buying or receiving their bouquet. I bond with my subjects over our pleasure in the beauty of their flowers and the joy in giving and receiving flowers.
I have appropriated the slogan “Say it with Flowers” as the title of this project. This saying, coined in 1917 for use by the floral industry, is ubiquitous, seen printed on much of the paper used to wrap bouquets. So I place the photographs against a background of one of these floral papers, surrounding the portraits in the saying. People give flowers to communicate all kinds of messages: Congratulations!; Happy Birthday!; Happy Valentine’s Day!; Thank you!; I’m sorry!; I love you!; Get well soon! My subjects are indeed “saying it with flowers.” - Linda Stillman