Light out of darkness

occult-autumn open Studio_20150928_0035
David Roddis, “Occult” (2015)

The first snows have fallen in Toronto, soulless Xanadu of the Great White North, and its citizens are in an uproar of disbelief, their carping, narcissistic distress bringing to mind Mark Twain’s wry comment that

“everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it…”

Snow and cold, winter’s long, dark nights and pale pink dawns, are reminders that, despite the hubris of Homo sapiens, Nature rules, and with placid, psychopathic indifference.  I live in a country where it’s possible to die simply by being outdoors at the wrong time of year.   From that frightening possibility comes, or used to, the quintessential Canadian trait:  Fortitude.

Without light there’s no dark; no modelling of volume, no chiaroscuro.   Digital photography entices with bright bright bright, but that way lies images that might as well be passport photos.  You’ve seen flowers countless times, so why take the picture?  Because you’ve never seen these flowers in this light of this moment…

     I like to see how little light I can get away with.

Five Things Flowers Can Teach Us:  #2

Be still

Flowers have the soothing gift of being right where they are. They don’t race around on a mission; they aren’t engaged in secret, frantic agendas. They just stay there, and we go to them, and willingly. If I can risk  sounding silly, they are content with where they are.

And when the air is still on a warm summer night, they are buddhas: Motionless, inward, yet light at heart.

Nothing to change, nothing to do.

Ineffable beauty

David Roddis, “Ineffable” (2015).   Archival pigment print, various sizes.  Edition of 25. ©2015, David Roddis. All rights reserved.

Something Old, Something New:  Above, a new print which is the result of my Open Studio Bouquet game.  At every event I ask each person attending to bring one flower  – a single stem – and the resulting bouquet is the subject of photography in the days and weeks afterward (yes, weeks!).

For the Something Old factor , here’s a reprint of my article “Five Things Flowers Can Teach Us”, which first appeared on the Gay Guide Network.  I’m going to  serialize this, like Dickens might have if he had taken flower photos.


When I first began to photograph flowers I had this idea of seeing past the pretty surface to reveal something I had never seen before, or even thought about. I wanted to discover the essence and the energy, something truthful.  I think seeing past the surface of things is the very least expected of the job description artist.

So off I went to the north St Lawrence Market, where every Saturday morning from Easter until Thanksgiving the Taylor family brings in from their flower farm the most astonishing peonies, lilacs, dahlias… Heaven! Old-fashioned, farmhouse blooms that you can imagine being
arranged in a cut glass vase, then placed on the sideboard in your great-grandmother’s dining room, where the tick of the tall-case clock is the only sound.

These authentic, unengineered blooms led me to the decision that I would embrace their often startling imperfections – a bunch of snapdragons with “dowager’s hump” comes to mind – and not even shy away from showing them as they wilt.  This summer I took the concept further by foraging for weeds and other scrappy specimens that grow in the vacant lots, sidewalk cracks and ungroomed parks of the inner city.

I looked at what I had formerly ignored or discounted, I looked at
dandelions and goldenrod and clover and vetch, and I began to wonder why I had ever bothered to purchase flowers. There seemed to be beauty in the most unlikely places.

Five things flowers can teach us:

1.  Flowers give of themselves totally, for the joy of it.

How often I give while secretly expecting something back. A flower opens to the sun, looks you straight in the eye, and says, “Here you go, buddy. Purple petals, no charge!”  I want to learn to be more like that.

In fact, I want to learn to believe more sincerely that what I give is valuable.

[to be continued…]



My work @ The Rose Emporium


If you’re in Toronto, drop by The Rose Emporium, 204 Dupont Street (east of Dupont Subway, on the north side).    Apart from their breathtakingly beautiful roses, you can currently also view – and purchase – several of my flower pieces.

The works are mostly from my series “Rose Bright” (2014).  Dimensions are 22 x 17″ and a few at 19 x 13″.  Prices from $150 to $270, framed.    Here are some photos I took a couple of days ago.

The cost goes down 20%, my gratitude goes up 100%

colorful - 13
“Phalaenopsis Deconstruction I” (2012). Archival pigment print, 40 x 60. Edition 2/10. ©2012, David Roddis. All rights reserved. Limited edition, signed on verso and accompanied with certificate of authenticity. $1,500.

Have you tried the “Find the Red Button Challenge” yet?

Go to my site and see if you can find where to sign up for my newsletter.  (Hint:  it’s a red button.)

Successful sign-ups are instantly rewarded with my gratitude, as well as a coupon code for 20% off ANY artwork on the site.  Your discount – should you be clever enough to find the red button, that is – remains valid for as long as you subscribe.

Tip:  To fully experience your 20% discount, choose an artwork that you like, decide on a size and paper choice, then – purchase it!  You’ll get to apply your 20% discount during check-out.  There’s nothing like actually experiencing the discount to make you really appreciate it.

The Red Button Challenge – is your life
beautiful without it?