Photography? Mais, non!

I went to the ***New England Flower Show yesterday in Boston and did my photography thing.  I came across a New England Botanical Association booth with lovely watercolor, colored pencil, pastels of plants and vegetables.  They even had a stalk of brussels sprouts in colored pencil.

I asked if the association was open to photographers.

O, fou fou, cute little aquiline nose just did a tremulous shudder just before she said, “No.”

I was not offended but the message was clear.   I pretended I didn’t get it.

Did she know of any association that was open to botanical photographers?

“No, I really don’t,” she said pensively as if contemplating the banality of evil.

“There’s a man who teaches a course in macro photography, though.   He might know…” and she threw her eyes toward a brochure of courses that the association offered but apparently it was too much of a stretch for her to hand it to me.

I smiled my chicklet smile and left to do battle another day.  I resisted saying, “You know MY brussels sprouts photographs blow your colored pencil one out of the garden, sistah! ”

But, I said to myself, “What would Barack Do?”

I continued on with the show.

I went to the information booth on my way out and asked whether there were any photographers who had booths that I might have missed.

“Photographers?”  She said this as if I’d asked her,  “Yes, hello, where is the booth where I can leave off a stool sample?”

“Well, I’ve seen the Botanical Association with their lovely work and a few other watercolorists with booths, I was simply wondering if I had missed any photographers?”

“Well, it’s up to them to come to us, you know.”

Check defensive without being accused.  I was just asking a question.  But, things were heating up now.  Two times in an hour two separate women had dissed photography as a second class citizen.

I gave my Barack smile, again.

I asked if she knew of any association of photographers who specialized in botanical subjects as the New England Botanical Association did?

“Oh, well…you have to understand that THEIR art (meaning “fine” art)  comes from a long tradition, spanning centuries.”

If it is possible to look down your nose and be wall-eyed at the same time, this woman accomplished it.

I’ve got a long tradition, too,  I felt like telling her…but  I  didn’t.  Ever since health care passed, I’ve said to myself that I had to adopt the Barack method of responding to fools.

Some folks ask “What would Jesus do?”.  Me, I’m a little more contemporary.

What would Barack Do?

(C’mon, if he can deal with John Boehner, then I can deal civilly with some flower art snobs, right?)

I flashed her my best Barack smile (which is quite impressive if I do say so myself) but, it is also all I can replicate of his “Putting-Up -With-Fools” tool set I am soon going to sell on Amazon for $9.99.

Maybe in addition to smiling,  I’ll start my own botanical art association, make it open to all artists, whatever their medium, and give these ladies and their traditions some brussels sprouts they’ll never forget.

Oh, yes, I just might have to start smoking, too.  I think that is his secret addiction and his secret of success.

Think about it.  Ever since this country  has banned smoking in public places and made smokers feel like lepers, our national dialogue has gone right into the place where stool samples go.

You didn’t think I was just going to use that phrase just once did you?

Mais, non!

©Pat Coakley 2010


**Select photographs from this blog and from my wider archive are available for purchase at

***An image taken at the Flower show can be seen on my seasonal flower and plant photo tip blog,

15 comments on “Photography? Mais, non!”

  1. And then someone looks at those lovely photographs of flowers and other plants and says” Wow! She must have a really great camera.” As though it’s the camera that took those pictures. Lord. Stool sample booth indeed.

  2. Don, I don’t seem to mind those “camera” comments in that at least they acknowledge that the image is interesting for whatever reason. Hey, go for it. They’ll find out like we all do. These folks at the show seem to have closed and very satisfied minds, not an attractive trait in my book!

  3. What would Barack do! I LOVE IT! You displayed the utmost calm while dealing with the those stuck up horrid people. I think I actually would have dropped off a stool sample with them!

  4. History has plenty of examples of these petty little tin gods making pronouncements about art, that only shown them to be clueless non-entities by history.

    Feel to join the illustrious list of people, such as Turner, Van Gogh, Whistler, et al, who have had to listen to such verbal diarrhea. As a matter of fact, consider it a compliment.

    I don’t know what Barack would do, but I know the Razzbuffnik would’ve set her straight. Some people get so hung up on the medium, rather than what’s done with it.

  5. Oh, Carol, Now YOU would be accepted into this exclusive association without question! Your flower paintings are divine. But, I’d let you into my new association, too! We’ll serve sticky buns at our meetings not cucumber sandwiches, however.

  6. Razz, I can imagine your response based on your recent Smokey the Bear post! Your desire to interact with offenders of taste may be a wee bit stronger than mine!

  7. Sounds like ignorance is pissed. And scared. Let ’em eat stool samples.
    Two of the most successful artists/art show sales here on St. Croix belong to photographers!
    One of them, you know ( the humble Mr. Diddams ) and another photographer/owner of a photo only gallery.

    What would Barack do indeed.
    Next photo Pat, I’d like to see you take a shot of higher ground and show them what that looks like.

  8. geez louise, it is amazing that anyone still doesn’t consider photography as an art. i thought, you know, people like Adams and Stieglitz put that to bed a long time ago. but then, i guess, with the last 30something years of cutbacks in art education and grant funding, how could you expect a flower show booth attendant to even want to see anything else other than ‘traditional’ ideated imagery that depicts botanical images nicely with not too much to think about. ‘dont trust anyone under thirty or at trade shows’ regarding visual art qualities

  9. Tipota, both these women were 50 somethings and members of horticultural associations or the botanical association. Ignorance comes in all ages!

    Now, Bon Bon, I’m laughing out loud at your spin on”let them eat cake”…Sounds like you and Razz might have had a different response to these women than smiling!

  10. You and your camera could make a stool sample look like orchids-can you imagine weeds running a flower show !

  11. “Your desire to interact with offenders of taste may be a wee bit stronger than mine!”

    I see it as an application of aversion therapy.
    It’s for the own good……
    …….Oh and, most importantly, it would make me feel good!

  12. damn the torpedoes! … it’s all sounds like a botanicality.

  13. “it all sounds like a botanicality.” it should have said.

    note: why aren’t there two enter buttons on these computers.

  14. PR, I got it the first time and it was one of your precisely hilarious wordplays!

  15. […] 16 Comments » My flowers got some award love at the Newport Flower Show yesterday.  Whoo Whoo. (See why I entered this HERE) […]

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