Like you, I was sure I was looking at some faded roses placed in a niche in a grave marker somewhere in the Yucatan.
But upon closer inspection I realized that what I thought nature had created, in fact man had made in a factory. Does this fact, this knowledge, diminish the photograph? Does concept this diminish the sentiment of the person who brought this tribute, this offering, to the grave of a loved one? Real roses, in the hot Mexican sun would last but an hour or two. The goal here was to bring something that would last ‘forever’ to someone who, like all of us, did not, and could not, last. It is likely this photograph has already outlived the plastic roses that were already cracked and crumbling like all material bodies into the ultimate, ever-living dust of the universe.
Taking this photograph was something of a challenge. The frame of the photograph is the bright frame of stucco. So I had to keep some detail in the overexposed, sun-drenched stucco, while holding enough detail in the roses themselves, which is tricky with the color film I used when I took this photo. Keeping the color-drained, deathlike, somber mood of the roses was of utmost importance.
However, I do not view this subject as sad or false. It is an image of an offering in another culture, and to that culture, not ours, it must be true. Like all roses given as an expression of love, to me this photograph is a testament to the idea of love, the loftiest unexpected gift of an otherwise unimaginably vast and unfeeling universe.