In Full Flower

Kelly Perry - 00:01 - You are listening to the Team Flower podcast where we talk about flowers and the people who have dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. My name is Kelly, founder of Team Flower, and I'll be your host today. The Flower Movement is picking up speed and today's guest got a chance to see an experienced this up close and personal. Our guests, Gemma Ingalls with her husband Andrew, have authored a beautiful new book entitled in Full Flower Featuring Work from over 20 floors from across America. Get a peek inside what the process of creating the book was like for these photographers and learn about the collaboration that goes on between florists and photographers and creating images. Gemma's has also sharing some simple wisdom you can apply in your work with photographing flowers. It's all right here on the Team Flower podcast. This podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Team Flower conference called the future of our industry for gathering in March of 2018 at the reunion resort in Florida. To be purposeful about where our industry is headed in the legacy will leave behind for the next century of floral industry professionals. Get connected in a mastermind group, enjoy stage presentations and panels and speak into what our industry will go to look like during our lifetime. Online resources can only take you so far and nothing can replace being in the room with people like you. We hope you'll be able to join us. You can find the most update information at 

Kelly Perry - 01:28 - Well, today we have Gemma here from In Full Flower. Welcome. It's so great to have you. 

Gemma Ingalls - 01:34 - Thank you. I'm excited to speak to you today. 

Kelly Perry - 01:37 - Well, I wanted to chat a little bit about this beautiful book. I got it and looked at it over the weekend. Read every page, looked at every picture. I'm in. One of my favorite parts of the book opens with this fantastic quote from constance spry that says, do what you please follow your star. Be original if you want to and don't be if you don't want to be, just be natural and lighthearted and pretty and simple and overflowing in general and broke in bear and austere and stylized and wild and daring and conservative and learn and learn and learn. Open your mind to every form of beauty. I was just wondering what about this sentiment caught your attention and lead you to place it as the opening line for this beautiful floral, floral story that you've created as well? 

Gemma Ingalls - 02:26 - I just wanted to say that I'm a woman named Lindsay Taylor, who's pretty active in the floral community. She's a floral designer and an editor. Um, she actually passed us quote along to me and when I first started talking about this book project and it just struck me as so modern and beautiful even though constance spry was, um, a woman who was designing in the 1930s. She was very ahead of her time and she was very inspired by the Dutch master paintings and used a lot of things like Kale and ornamental grasses and other experimental things in her arrangements as well as very interesting containers. And vessels, and she really kind of challenged the idea of what floral design meant. Um, and I, I feel that that kind of strain of creativity is just kind of represented in this book and a variety of different ways. 

Gemma Ingalls - 03:26 - I, um, many of the designers and the book were visual artists or um, performers before they became floral designers and I think that they all have kind of a sense of adventure and creativity in their work that is always sort of challenging and pushing the boundaries. And there's really no rules, even though they have, many of them have very technical backgrounds and may have been trained in more classical floral design technique. Um, they all sort of push the envelope and take, take risks and are constantly kind of challenging the sense of beauty and design. So that quote really just kind of summed it up for me. Um, what, what these, this group of women and men are doing to change change the floral design industry. 

Kelly Perry - 04:16 - Yeah, absolutely. Why don't you tell us just a couple of the floral designers that we can expect to see in the pages of this book. If you don't mind, so our, listeners could get an idea of who's in there. 

Gemma Ingalls - 04:27 - Sure. Or sure. Um, well, every one of the designers and the book are quite amazing and there are so many more. I just wanted to mention that, um, it was, it was extremely hard to, to kind of narrow it down and find, you know, this sort of distilled group I would cite Emily Thompson as a designer who has a background in sculpture and her pieces are very wild and often very oversized and she uses a lot of extreme color combinations. She likes to see you. She uses the word acid and uses a lot of fluorescent color is, and she'll use like garlic scapes and all kinds of crazy things in her arrangements. Um, we included Cya Pula and Nicolette Owen, who they work together, um, often. Um, they teach workshops with little flower school and they are more of the sort of baroque style, um, that kind of Dutch masters style romantic floral design, but still very wild and natural. 

Gemma Ingalls - 05:33 - And they're both just their use of flowers and their color palettes are incredible. They're Sarah winward from honey of a thousand flowers, she's based in Salt Lake City and she really kind of pioneered the floral movement out in that part of the world in Utah. Um, and she kind of trained a couple of the other designers in the book. I'm tinge and soil and stem, um, her work is also very romantic, but again, she, she likes to take risks. She does a lot of foraging. Um, she does a lot of large scale work, so she's wonderful. And then the last woman I would mention is I'm Kristen Cassie from Moon Canyon. Um, she's a California designer and her work really pulls from the landscape and the environment of California. So she, she does a ton of roadside foraging and she's always kind of looking at how things grow in nature. um on the west coast and how she can sort of emulate that. And her work and her work is also very seasonal. 

Kelly Perry - 06:36 - Fantastic. You just gave us a little tour across the country the whole way from here over to California. And that's one of the things I love about this book. It's all American designers and so there's so many different cities represented, so it really is like a little tour across the United States and the world of flowers. So that's really fun. Um, now you said in the book that your friend Ken Miller suggested the book idea and you have to lead, took on the challenge. I'm just wondering if you'd mind giving us a little glimpse into behind the scenes of shooting a book like this. Where did you start and how did things progress from that initial conversation to actually holding the book in your hands? 

Gemma Ingalls - 07:18 - Sure, sure. So Ken is a friend and he does a lot of book work. Um, and he had recommended us because we've done a lot of work. I'm photographing flowers and gardens. I'm just editorially and for other book projects. So we loved the idea of this book. I don't think there's anything more wonderful to photograph than a flower. Um, they're just so mesmerizing and being around them is just such a treat. So we of course kind of jumped at the chance to work on this project. Um, we kind of started grassroots with a small group of designers that we knew in New York City where we were living at the time, um, and in particular, um, Taylor Patterson from Fox fodder farm was really kind of a catalyst for us and she connected us to several other designers and had some recommendations for us and we had worked with a few different designers on shoots as well. 

Gemma Ingalls - 08:18 - So we kind of networked that all together and follow this word of mouth chain to create the group. Um, and it was, it was very hard to distill it down, as I mentioned, because we had a limited amount of time to shoot an unlimited number of pages and we really wanted to give space to each of the designers that we included. So something that we tried to look for is that each of the designers in the book, we're really kind of pioneers in their field and that they kind of had a signature style and we're doing something a little different than each other person in the book. Um, so we, but we also kept it open, like at the very end of our shooting, Sarah Windward had suggested studio mundine and they were just kind of the sleeper and then they ended up being on the cover and that was just kind of a wonderful connection at the last minute. 

Gemma Ingalls - 09:08 - So we, we weren't kind of bound. Um, and that was nice. We were able to author the book and the editor was really supportive of the, those kind of little last minute changes that we had. Um, we, the book actually started as more of like a lifestyle driven concept. Um, so we were shooting a lot more of like the designers, like going to the flower market or growing on their farm and a lot more process shots and kind of what, what the, what it looked like inside their world and their studios, you know, onsite installing. But then it developed more into, it became more about the arrangements because we realized that, you know, the flowers themselves really speak so much about the process and the art. The final arrangement is really that's the end product. So if you think of it like as a meal, you know, it's like all of that preparation and then you have this final piece. 

Gemma Ingalls - 10:02 - So it ended up being a, you know, more about those portraits of, of the, the arrangements themselves. Um, and then to shoot the book, we, we basically took our two young children on the road with us and we shot the book in 10 months. So we started on the east coast. We got the end of the dahlia a season in late September. I'm shooting Ariella chisare on her farm and then um, you know, we got a few little shoots in the south done and then in the spring we picked up and we shot through the spring and I think our last shoot was like in late May in Seattle at, at Florette. So, um, it was a very fast, 

Kelly Perry - 10:48 - I would say. So it's like you just had a suitcase packed and just kept, just kept going. There's 21 people I think in the book. So that is a lot of, it's a lot of ground to cover. 

Gemma Ingalls - 10:59 - Yes, we, we definitely wanted to keep the momentum and um, you know, we felt like it was the time for this book to come out and uh, we just made it happen. 

Kelly Perry - 11:09 - Yeah, absolutely. Anything else with that process? How long after you did your last shoot with Erin did it take to actually get the book edited and in our hands? 

Gemma Ingalls - 11:24 - Well, so yeah, the last shit was in May and then I think we delivered everything. There were some rounds. We worked really closely with our designer, a Sue Barber. She is a great friend of ours and she's so talented and has worked on many book projects so we were extremely lucky to have her to sign the book and she did an amazing job and I think we delivered everything in July so it was quite quickly went back and forth and we delivered and, 

Kelly Perry - 11:24 - And this was just last year? 

Gemma Ingalls - 11:56 - Yes. Yes. And then shipped off to print so it was, you know, the process was pretty smooth. It was very hard to choose the images. There weren't enough pages. 

Kelly Perry - 12:13 - Uh, no, of course not. I bet you had so many more things. Do you have any plans in the future for, you know, what, you might use some of those pictures that didn't quite make it in the book form or do those just get to be a, you're a look out on a rainy day. 

Gemma Ingalls - 12:29 - Those images will be used, um, for some of them will be used for stories in magazines, magazines coming up. Design is publishing a pretty big feature with some of the outtakes and a few other magazines. So, and also we are giving the images an edit of them to each of the designers so there'll be able to use some for their sites. And so those pieces that were made that didn't end up in the book, we'll still have a life. I'm a visual life, a photographic life. 

Kelly Perry - 13:01 - Right. That's great. Yeah. Um, well the contrasts and similarities between the work of florists and photographers is really intriguing because both their artists with their beauty seekers, but as you mentioned in the book, similar to that memorable meal meticulously created and presented only to be consumed shortly thereafter. Flower art is living nebulous time based stuff to be appreciated in the moment. And then it's fleetingly gone back to the earth in contrast to this, what you offer as a photographer is that permanence and you have that power to capture the moment as it was. And I love that interaction between the photographer and the florist and I really appreciate the work that you do as someone who works with flowers. Why don't you tell us a little bit about how you collaborated with each of the artists on the image making for the book? 

Gemma Ingalls - 13:56 - Sure. Um, well each kind of artist and studio had a, had a different approach to the image making and we basically, we would reach out to each of the designers and kind of mentioned that this book was, um, you know, that we wanted them to be able to express their, you know, to do anything that they wanted, you know, like they could be in installation in nature. It could be, you know, a classic, sort of traditional arrangement. Um, but that, this was really about just them kind of expressing their style as a creative designer. So, you know, I think that there were, there were very different approaches. Like an example, I guess a Brittany ash from Birch. She had a very clear vision. She wanted to shoot in a, you know, in a white studio space. Um, she had concepted her pieces ahead of time and um, we just went in there and she created them and you know, I worked with the light and we photographed them and it was very straightforward. 

Gemma Ingalls - 15:05 - There were other, um, designers like a Taylor Fox fodder, um, we photographed with her several times and we actually went down to um, her farm in Pennsylvania and we did a lot of experimentation and one of the pieces that she did was a water piece. So she actually lay flowers in, in a little on the edge of a little pond and we photograph that. So, um, yeah. And then Holly Flora, we went up to their farm and Ojai and photographed the pieces kind of in this deserty, um, environment where they have this orchards, these orchards. And it just really fit well in that environment because a lot of their pieces have these sort of native California plants and flowers in them. So shooting in that landscape really made sense. So we kind of talked to each of the designers ahead of time about where they wanted to shoot and what they wanted to do and it really was a collaboration in terms of how far they wanted to take it and if they wanted to like kind of stick in a studio environment or go out of doors, um, you know, it's always a collaboration because image making is so subjective. 

Gemma Ingalls - 16:22 - You know, you can photograph and arrangement in different light and it looks completely different if you photograph it with soft side window light than if you photograph it in full sun with the light shining directly at the front of the arrangement. The flowers are gonna, you know, they're going to take on a different form and the, the arrangement is going to look completely different. So we, when we shoot, we usually have a laptop tethered to the camera and you can see the image on the, on the laptops. So the designers were really able to tweak the arrangement and see if the camera was flattening it and certain places or you know, they can reshape it. So in that way, technology has really helped this process of collaboration, um, you know, that ability to just see things in the moment and work in live view, which is like a, it's a program that allows the designers to literally see the movement of each stem as they're moving and it's like a little video of what the camera's seeing. 

Gemma Ingalls - 17:28 - So yeah. So in terms of the technical side of things there, you know, there was a, there was a lot of control available for the designer and we really saw it as a collaboration and we wanted to make sure that, that the designers saw the images and that, you know, they were, they were happy with the way that they were represented in the photography. Um, I also film, which is, um, something that, that turns up a lot across the pages of the book and, but I always shot digital at the same time. So they would see the way the light was working. And understand the way the arrangement was looking to the camera lens and then we'll also shoot the film image following. 

Kelly Perry - 18:09 - Okay, fantastic. Wow. Everything in here was so completely crispy and super in focus. I wouldn't have. I don't know. I didn't think that this was a, that there was film in here, but now I'm going to have to look at it. Notice that. Yeah. Fantastic. Fantastic skills that you have there in terms of getting it nice and sharp and. Lovely. 

Gemma Ingalls - 18:35 - Thank you. Yeah. There's a few film images hiding in there. 

Kelly Perry - 18:40 - Um, I was wondering if there was maybe a particularly enlivening moment that happened during the creation of the book that reminded you why you started taking pictures in the first place or one that left you thinking this is my job and I love it. 

Gemma Ingalls - 18:56 - Yes, definitely. I mean there were so many moments like that. I think that just being surrounded by flowers and having the opportunity to kind of document the process of a designer creating something from the field or from their bucket of tools to this finished arrangement. It's just so magical. And as I mentioned before, each flower is just so spectacular that, um, in each of these designers had such a vast knowledge of the flowers and this wonderful craft to kind of share and also that sense of that spirit of collaboration. So the whole thing was just really enjoyable and I definitely felt a lot of gratitude while making this book. Although it was definitely a, you know, it was a challenge, like you said, there was a lot of ground to cover. We were kind of like lugging our family around, but all of this, all of these things were just so redeeming. 

Gemma Ingalls - 19:54 - I really love spending time with Mandy and Steve from moon flower farm. They're just like wonderful people. Um, we realized we had met them years ago at Mcevoy ranch on a Martha Stewart shoot and Mandy's mother. We kind of just hit it off as soon as we eat, got to their farm. And Mandy's mother was watching our two kids while we walked around the farm and collaborated on the shots. And I was just really inspired by their commitment to only using their own organic flowers for all their clients. And also their productivity, like they bring flowers to the farmer's market and they service as private clients and they just have such an enthusiasm for all things of the earth and just being in their greenhouses with the little tiny seedlings all around me, just, it made me feel so alive. And I really appreciated their efforts, their, their efforts living, you know. 

Gemma Ingalls - 20:48 - And so at their farm, the last shot of the day there we, um, we did a lot of kind of experiments and we, this was just a simple arrangement of poppies that we placed in a field of tall wheat that had been kind of tamped down by the wind and created this little flat space. And we put the poppies, you know, Mandy arrange the poppies in a vase. Well first she cut them in the field and then she arranged them in this vase and me went into this little studio that had been made out of this beautiful tamp down wheat and shot with the last light of day. And that was just a perfect example of how like a spur of the moment concept comes together in this decisive moment. And works really well. 

Kelly Perry - 21:31 - I love that they are such fun people and I love those pages and the book really fantastic. Well, I was, do you have a, perhaps maybe a snippet of simple wisdom that you'd like to pass along to our listeners? Most of them are a florist and farmers like the ones that you featured in the book, um, maybe something about prepping for a photo shoot or I don't know, just some unique perspective that you might have is as a photographer to share with us.

Gemma Ingalls - 21:58 - Yeah, I mean it seems like so many floral designers and a flower farmers are very savvy in the visual world. Um, I would say if there's any kind of like, just very basic recommendations, um, that, you know, simple surfaces and backgrounds are really important in making the arrangements stand out in a photograph. So if you're preparing for a shoot and you're just kind of wondering how to get ready, I would say all was making sure you have a few like steamed out linens are beautiful old wood tables or metal surfaces on hand, just because if the background is Fussy, it's going to be a little more challenging to have the arrangement really kind of shine through in the image. Um, the other thing I would say is that the camera doesn't see things the way the eye see things sees things. So if you're looking at an arrangement and full sun and it looks so pretty and then you photograph it and the shadows are really dark and the highlights are really bright. 

Gemma Ingalls - 23:01 - Um, you know, that high contrast light actually isn't usually isn't the best. There's all kinds of way to place to photograph flowers in interesting ways. But I would say kind of as a rule of thumb, what we do is we like to use natural directional light that's coming from the side because it kind of sweeps across the front of the flowers and gives them a nice depth and dimension. And um, the, the further away from the light source that you are, the softer the light will become. So if you're setting up your arrangement very close to, to a window, the light will be, um a little more dramatic and the shadows will be harder. And then the further away from the window that you go, the more diffused the light will become in the softer, the shadows will become. 

Kelly Perry - 23:53 - That's fantastic advice. Thank you. Well, I had tell us a little bit about what's next for you and if there's anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners today before we sign off, I'll let you take the floor and go for it. 

Gemma Ingalls - 24:04 - Hey, thanks. Yeah. Um, well I just wanted to thank everyone for listening and please support this book. It's just so many wonderful designers in it and many of them are involved in the slow flower movement, which I think is incredibly important. Um, as far as our work, we're always working on a lot of kind of photography home and family projects. Um, we have three books launching this month. Um including full flower and a book of Interiors. And a cookbooks. So we're pretty busy. 

Gemma Ingalls - 24:38 - We're also working on a. we're currently working on a cookbook and a few other book projects and our own garden in our new backyard in Los Angeles where we just moved. We have a lot on our plate. Um, and yeah, I am really looking forward to sharing this book with everyone and I hope that everyone enjoys it. 

Kelly Perry - 25:01 - Oh, I'm sure they will. I really enjoyed it and I'm very excited to hear about this garden that you have growing. Um, and I wish you all the best success with that. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. And for all of you who are listening, thank you so much for hopping on. Thanks so much for listening. And remember the deep importance of the work you do. A flower is not just a flower, it's a conduit for passing the hope and love inside your heart and the people you share them with.

Florence Kennedy of Petalon Flowers

Sarah from Poppy in Singapore