In my spare time over the last few weeks I have been working on a new personal project called ‘Inner Light – A Botanical study of transparency‘. I have had a love of the botanical world for many years which has been fuelled by a exotic botanist & friend, Will Giles. For years I have been photographing both him and his ever expanding collection of exotic plants from all corners of the globe, grown with love and optimism in our temperate British climate, [with the aid of large heated poly tunnels through the winter] with much success over the last 25 years.

Left: Canna 'Durban', Middle: Solenostemon hybrid, Right: Begonia. A botanical study showing the inner light of exotic & tropical leaves - almost transparent through the use of rear lit flash. An incredible array of differing textures and patterns, often only visible when light passes through, almost like an X-Ray. (Chris Ridley)

The project happened completely by accident, last year I photographed a back lit leaf purely by chance whilst shooting for another client, and that image stuck in my head for many months after. I wanted to experiment using remote flashes behind leaves of various thickness, sizes and shapes and see what kind of colours and patterns would be hidden inside. Some are more than dramatic than others, some images just highlight the colours that are obvious on the surface, but others really show the hidden coloured veins and intricate textures beneath. None of these images have any surface light, all of it is coming through from behind – sometimes this leads to an almost ‘out of focus’ and even looking quite over processed. These images have very little post processing, literally just darkening the backgrounds on the more ‘cut out’ looking images. If anything I have had to reduce the saturation of colours a small amount. Incredible colours just popping out from within.

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