Last night, I had the opportunity to photograph a Voodoo Lily. It’s a flowering plant from the genus Amorphophallus.
The term Amorphophallus originates from the Greek amorphos, meaning deformed and phallos, meaning male sex organ (I’m not making this up!).
It has a most unusual jungle-like appearance with intense dark colors, wonderful textures and beautiful flowing shapes (a perfect photographic subject!).
The most striking feature however, is that the Voodoo Lily emits a pungent and intense odor of rotting flesh.
Apparently, flies and other insects are attracted to this stench of decay thinking that they are in for a meal. Instead, they inadvertently provide pollination services for the flowers.
Within minutes of bringing the plant into my studio, the smell of death permeated throughout.
I spent about an hour photographing the Lily, mostly using the technique of light painting (using a small flashlight to illuminate the plant during 30 second exposures) . Before long, I just couldn’t take it anymore! I hastily wrapped up the session and cleared the plant out of my studio.
It was a very unpleasant experience during the process, but I think the results were worth my sacrifice!