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Setting Roses on Fire

I've come across a photography concept online that has been done by other photographers which involved setting flowers on fire than photographing the result as the flower burns. This for some reason has always intrigued me and I've always wanted to try and recreate this concept. When finally I had time on my side and a few helping hands, I set out to do just that.

First I had to get the materials that I would need, flowers (Roses because they are my favorite flower and because I thought that they would photograph beautifully whilst on fire) a lighter and hairspray to soak the roses in in order for them to remain on fire long enough to photograph. My intention was to to create imagery that was delicate and beautiful but the entire experience was a complete adventure full of trial and error which ended up yielding some very unexpected results.

I had bought 12 roses with the intention to soak each one in hairspray than photograph each one individually while it was on fire. Having not attempted this before, I thought that hairspray would for sure do the trick to achieve the results that I desired. Boy was I wrong. I sprayed each rose down and than went outside with one in order to test the result. The moment was heightened with anticipation as the expected result was a small burst of flame from initial lighting followed by a slow burn, however when the flame was applied to the rose, that moment of anticipation was deflated when the rose did not catch fire. So back to the drawing board it was to come up with another solution. Finally it was decided to try utilize 70% rubbing alcohol to see what outcome it would provide. Again the roses were once again soaked and taken outside. This is where the helping hands came in because I could not have done this on my own. One held the roses with a flashlight shone under the roses so that my camera would focus as it was during the night that this little photography experiment was carried out. The other had a lighter and a can of spray cologne in order to create a large flamethrower effect powerful enough to set the roses on fire. The improvements to executing the plan worked perfectly and I am very happy with how this set of photos turned out.

The results of this set however turned out much different than what I had pictured in my mind. I had envisioned something that felt elegant, delicate, beautiful and romantic with the roses gently burning, set against a black backdrop to create a focus on them. The results I yielded were a bit more intense, a touch chaotic and compelling. You will also see in this set that safety was made a priority, especially when working with fire and flammable materials.

I had so much fun being able to create this set of photos and will for sure being attempting a similar style in the future in a more prepared and researched manner.

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