We Can’t Get Enough of the Floral Flat Lays Photographed by Kristen Hook of Lola Pilar
Kristen Hook’s stunning botanical photos are quilt from the ground up.
Artwork, Top to bottom: Sunrise Papaya, C-Street Blues and Mr. Bombaxtic photo quilts.
Living in the Islands, we encounter pretty tropical florals, well, pretty much all the time. So, it takes more than just an artful arrangement to stop us in our tracks, exactly what happened when local fashion and lifestyle photographer Kristen Hook’s botanical photo quilts came scrolling through our Instagram feed.
Inspired by classic Hawaiian quilts, Hook disassembles plants, fruit and delicate flowers, and transforms the pieces into striking symmetrical compositions which she photographs and creates prints from under the name Lola Pilar Hawai‘i. “I like the idea of taking something traditional and interpreting it in a way that’s fresh and modern and fun,” she says.
“I love discovering all the tiny details within plants.”
She started with a Bombax blossom she stumbled upon in her neighborhood. Hook juxtaposed the fluffy fuchsia puff with red ti leaves and marble-patterned ivy leaves. Exploring new species is half the fun. “I love discovering all the tiny details within plants,” she says. Squiggly coconut palm stalks, portly spider lily bulbs and sunshine-hued petals from banana tree blooms have all graced her works.
Not to say that it’s all just a walk in the garden. Finding the right flowers at the right time can be tricky. “Sometimes I can get what I need from my backyard, a family member or neighbor,” says Hook. “A lot of times it’s exploring. I’ll go to flower shops, farmers markets and roadside stands. I’ve even knocked on strangers’ doors.”
From there, a setup can take up to seven hours to photograph. There’s no digital duplication or manipulation involved. “Basically, I place one flower, click the camera and check the computer,” she says. “I just keep placing and clicking.” It can take a week to yield a single image.
So far, Hook has created around 50 quilts, turning 12 into prints, with plans to release 10 more prints before the year’s end. All worth every second, we think, to permanently capture the beautifully impermanent.
$45 for 8-by-10-inch print (in 11-by-14-inch matte, pictured in top image), $85 for 12-by-12-inch print (in 16-by-16-inch matte), $1,900 for framed 42-by-42-inch print, custom sizes available by order. @lolapilarhawaii. lolapilarhawaii.com.