JEREMY & JULIE BRAITHWAITE
Book Launch Speech
Text of Jeremy’s Seech
Greg - thanks you very much indeed for that!
Now there’s a few other people I also need to thank:
Robyn Wards for making the suggestion that we do this in the first place
Maggie Kable & Choy- Lin Williams for suggesting I ask Greg Hansell to do the honours today
Choy-Lin for being my ‘Hanging Manager’ and with Geoff for doing such a wonderful job creating the display you can see on the walls here
Wendy & Gary Maher for proofreading both books
Shane for making the whole thing possible
And Julie – who has literally lived with me through this long journey and has had a significant input to every part of what you see today
Now I’d like to tell you about the journey to bring all this together.
It really started in 2009 when we did a lap of Australia and discovered for ourselves the wildflowers in WA. We certainly saw enough to want to come
back with better photographic equipment and spend the time required to photograph the flowers properly.
We did some research and knew that we needed good rain in March and April to have a good wildflower season. This happened last year and in July we
headed west with our caravan.
We crossed the Nullarbor and were lucky enough to see two white whale calves at Head of Bight. From Norseman we headed North via Kalgoorlie for
500km before heading west again. Another couple of hundred kilometers and the Everlastings started. There were literally flowers as far as the horizon
on both sides of the road.
We based ourselves at Mullewa. It is close to Pindar where the Wreath Flowers are and to the Everlastings at Coalseam.
In 2009 we had seen the remains of one Wreath Flower. But this year there were hundreds. They are there on the wall on the left .... and from p32 in Vol1.
The everlastings at Coalseam were equally unbelievable .... they’re near the fireplace. A solid mass of colour spreading right across the bottom of the
Just up the road at Canna we found lots of Orchids. They are on the far wall. Look from p12 in Vol 1.
We then drive across to Kalbarri on the coast. It yielded impressive displays of Kangaroo Paws some of which you will find on the wall in the corner over
From Kalbarri we went south. Highlights were
A tagalong tour from Western Flora near Eneabba with lots of Banksias, Orchids
Some more Wreath Flowers at Three Springs
Acres of Kangaroo Paws at the Lesueur National Park as well a huge number of Grass Trees
It was now the beginning of September and we had a week in Perth with our good friends Jo & Bill Blundell; this included a visit to the magnificent Kings
Park. Its right at the start of Volume 2.
And then up to The Stirling Range National Park. It was incredible even if the weather wasn’t! Have a look in the corner at what we have called “Hairy
Raindrops” to see what I mean. You’ll also see in Volume 2 of the book my image clearly reflected in raindrops on the flowers. They are on pages 15 and
Just north of Wave Rock there is a place called the Humps which is a huge monolithic rock which we climbed. We were quite amazed to see some most
unusual mosses growing in a puddle near the top of the rock. You’ll find them on pages 35, 36 & 37 in Vol 2.
Next up was Ravensthorpe. It has an annual Wildflower Show where volunteers bring flowers in to create an amazing display in the town.
We stayed nearby on the coast at Hopetoun and were lucky enough to see lots of Scarlet Banksias. I just think they are gorgeous and one made it to the
cover of Vol2. They are behind me here on the wall.
Julie’s favourite is the Qualup Bell which have a beautiful texture on the outside and a real tangle of yellow stamens in the centre. Have a look on p48 in
Vol 2 and on the wall beside the bar.
We also found the Red Wreath flower. They’re lovely and you’ll see one on the wall and on pages 158 and 159 of Vol 2.
Our final destination was Esperance. Some brilliant Orchids there as well as more of the Red Wreath flowers. We did get to Cape Le Grand – famous for
all the kangaroos on the beach – before heading home.
We managed to get a gap in the weather and navigated our way home through a very flooded NSW.
So that was the journey. I’d now like to talk a little about the photography environment
Inevitably if you are out and about when the flowers are blooming you will find masses of propagators. We’d never seen pollen sacks on bees before.
You’ll find close ups of very large ones, both yellow and pink in the books. We saw armies of ants at work, particularly on the spears of the grass trees.
You’ll also find a couple of interesting spiders, one completely white, and all sorts of other insects hidden in the flowers, There’s also an amazingly
coloured metallic green beetle which you will find on p134 of Vol1.
Neither of us are botanists and we have made no attempt to name the flowers in the book or on the walls. Depending on who you believe there are
somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 wildflowers in WA. Its one of 15 significant biodiversity hotspots in the world. Only around half of these
flowers are named. And the experts are using DNA testing to validate existing names and species, so some of these are changing.
For the photographers amongst us, we mainly used a Canon 5DsR and a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens to get the detail. If you have a look on the cards
beside each print and also on the web site www.jbraithwate.com you can see the settings we used.
I’m not sure how many of you have been to WA, but there is no such thing as a calm day there. The wind always blows. And while we were there it was
So I’d like you to imagine kneeling in mud trying to photograph a flower that just will not keep still and is waving around all over the place. The water is
dripping down your neck. And you are trying to focus down to the millimetre because you want to capture the detail.
Some people pick the wildflowers, which is illegal in the National Parks, and then photograph them in a studio environment, or use flash. We have not
We’ve only used the natural light on all the photographs, and we’ve tried to process the images so they remain true to the colours that we actually saw.
Very few flowers you see in the wild are perfect and I have made no attempt to hide imperfections. I wanted to capture the flower we saw on the day.
Tomorrow it will be different, and next week it may not be there, but something else may be.
So what you see here this afternoon should be pretty much what you could see walking through the wildflower regions with a magnifying glass. Try it in
your own garden and you will be completely amazed at nature’s diversity!
We ended up taking 11,000 photographs. It has been a difficult job selecting what to put in the two books and what then to print and display. In nature
every flower is saying ‘choose me’ to its propagators and when looking at my computer screen I often felt I was seeing what a bee would when choosing
where to land next.
The prints are produced in Australia and are limited to 100 examples of each. They are printed on archival quality canvas and our supplier suggests a life
of more than 75 years.
The books have been created using the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and I have used Ingrams to both print and distribute the books using their Print On
Demand process. It’s very much all our own work.
Anyway – I hope you like what we have done.
The exhibition runs until 25th May.
If you’d like to buy one – or both of the books – I’d be happy to sign them for you today.
Again – thank you Greg and thank you Shane – and everybody for coming.
And a big thank you to Julie!!
Hope you enjoy!
Copyright ©Jeremy Braithwaite. All rights reserved.