Book puts orchids in focus
AFTER 50 years of collecting exotic orchids from all over the world, Bruce Gray’s greenhouse resembles something you might see in the depths of the Brazilian rainforest rather than in a backyard in Atherton.
What started as childhood interest, admiring his mother’s orchids at their Butchers Creek home on the Tablelands, Mr Gray said collecting orchids has become a passion with more than 7000 at home.
“I have more than 1200 species in all manner of sizes,” he said.
“They range from only a millimetre long to the flowers as big as cattle ears.”
Some 100 of his exotic orchids are featured in Into the Orchid House, a photo book put together by award-winning photographers Stanley and Kaisa Breeden.
Long time acquaintances, the trio had been compiling photos for two years before the book was released in November.
“I’ve known Bruce years,” Mr Breeden said.
“But it wasn’t until I saw his greenhouse for myself that I realised just how many he had in there. He let me take a few for of these amazing plants back to Topaz and we took some shots under natural light near a patch of rainforest at home.
“The images were just breathtaking. We thought it would be great to compile them together for a book.”
Ms Breeden said it took hours of meticulous work and focus-stacking to bring each flower to life on the page.
“We wanted to make sure every single detail was in focus, so people could appreciate just how beautiful and unique each species of orchid was,” she said.
“It was extremely difficult work because with some orchids something as subtle as taking a breath can move the plant and alter the shot.”
With a growing number of orchid enthusiasts popping up on the Tablelands, Mr Gray said he appreciated the local interest in the project.
The Breedens between them have 70 years of experience in nature photography, art, design, writing and filmmaking. Today they specialise in digital close-up nature photography.
Mr Breeden has written some 20 natural history books.
With more than 7000 orchids in his Atherton backyard, Bruce Gray is putting his passions on show in 'Into The Orchid House', a photo book captured by Kaisa and Stanley Breeden.