The Wildflower Art of Tim Crawford

Arts & Culture

We love your wildflowers. Tell us why you made this choice as a subject for your art?

I have been photographing flowers for decades. Back when I was living in Idaho I made a series of wildflower cards in their natural environment. I was never really happy with the images as the natural surroundings of the subject became visual noise distracting one’s view of the flower.

Where in Montana do you find the flowers you want to photograph, and how difficult is it to complete your work before the arrangements begin to wither and wilt?

Easy. All of my current images come from either Gallatin County or Musselshell County because my studios are located there.

How many varieties of flowers have you photographed?

I have photographed between 50 and 60 flowers and any amount of other berries, grasses, and colorful leaves.

The most striking thing about your art is the contrast between the black background and the vivid color of the art itself. What prompted this choice of expression?

I have been doing studio photography of products as well as people for longer than I care to relate, lest someone realize I am really bald under my luxurious hair piece. One spring when walking my dogs along Dry Creek School Road near my home, I looked at some newly emerged flowers and wondered “What effect would occur should I abstract the flower from its natural setting and portray it against a dead black background? As I remember, the first was a wild iris.

Can you give us a bit of explanation about your photographic process?

After picking a flower and carrying it to my studio, usually in a makeshift vase, I set it in a jar filled with sand and water, arrange my lights, determine the correct exposure, and shoot a few bracketed photos. Then I often change the posture of the flower to show its different characteristics.

Are there other art subjects that considering at the moment?

I am currently accumulating images of a view of the Bridger Mountains; to what end I am not sure.

Thanks, Tim. Mind if we buy one of your pieces?

Showing and hopefully purchases can be arranged by contacting me through my phone numbers. Several images may be viewed in the lobby of the Emerson Grill in the Emerson Cultural Building in Bozeman.

Tim Crawford began working as a photographer shooting actors composites, models portfolios, film set stills, magazine assignments, and architectural photography in Southern California in the late 1960s. He worked on two California lifestyle books; one on hot tubs and one on beaches in the ‘70s. In recent years, he has worked on several conservation projects with aerial photography while still doing magazine and product shoots. Now, Tim splits his time between his two ranches and pursues photography for his own and others’ gratification. This show is a juxtaposition of his love of nature and studio technique.

Purchase of the prints may be arranged by calling Tim at 406-585-9333 or 406-388-4211.