Botánica Alfabeta — Flowers are this photographer’s hidden talent

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Veronica Garibay
Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Fabrizio Simoneen’s main tool is his visual creativity. Although he claims to be terrible at drawing, he’s incredibly skilled in capturing valuable moments and has learned to do so through photography

His formal career began nine years ago, but his love for photography goes way back to when he collected magazines as a kid.

A bouquet of flowers made by Fabrizio Simoneen. Photo: Fabrizio Simoneen

“I always gravitated to publications like National Geographic,” says Fabrizio, “and I realized that I loved them because of the photos. It made me interested in the craft and I started learning. Everything I know I’ve picked up from experience. As time went by I made a name for myself, and ended up specializing in event photography.”

Fabrizio remembers loving the ambiance at events, and he became particularly fond of weddings. It was here that his love, and experience, with flowers, developed.

This flower arrangement includes glass sculptures among natural flowers obtained in the Chiltipec market, in downtown Mérida. Photo: Fabrizio Simoneen

“It was something I really enjoyed looking at, the flower arrangements, and I definitely needed to take time to stop and photograph them. It became a beautiful memory in each ceremony, a way of immortalizing the short-lived flowers. With time I started developing my own aesthetic, learning what I liked and what I wanted to replicate for myself.”

Fabrizio designed a smaller arrangement as we talked. These were the materials he started with. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Weddings took up most of Fabrizio’s time until the pandemic halted all social events. Then, as most anxious personalities did, he turned back into his hobbies to find purpose and inspiration.

He purchases most of his flowers locally and enjoys finding locally grown species, as they come with unique traits and imperfections which he highlights in his designs. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“It meant a big change in my lifestyle, and feeling static is not something I enjoy. I’m a highly manual and visual person, and so I’m always looking for something new to learn. Around the beginning of lockdown, a friend of mine gave a floral design workshop and invited me to collaborate with the photos. I sat down and learned everything she taught and realized it was something I would love to do on my own. A way to brighten everyday life.”

Fabrizio’s working around color and composition. Photo: Verónica Garibay

With the tools and information he picked up during the workshop, Fabrizio started creating his first flower bouquets. First, only to decorate his home in Colonia Alemán and then as gifts and details for his loved ones.

Also in Yucatán Magazine: Ileana Jacobo: The art of flowers in Yucatán

In his experimentation, he has found he enjoys mixing elements outside of flowers, like glass sculptures and pottery vases. But right now, his arrangements are mostly based on composition.

Flowers were held to the bottom of the vase using a Kenzan, a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to the green foam usually found in arrangements. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“Being a photographer, and especially a wedding photographer I developed a particular taste in terms of arrangements. Right now, I’m inspired by asymmetrical shapes. I choose the color palette and textures and let my mind react to what is happening in the vase. I think of it as my eye, the visual aesthetic I have developed. Photographically speaking, I look a lot for symmetry. And I have realized that although I enjoy noise in my arrangements, I naturally leave angles and clear visual paths for each plant.”

Detailing on the foliage used at the center of the arrangement, from which the rest of the flowers emerge. Photo: Verónica Garibay

After his first workshop, Fabrizio acquired a couple of flower guides based on shapes and colors and took online workshops around botanical design. Still, he prefers letting the plants and his taste lead the way for each arrangement.

The final arrangement designed by Fabrizio. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“Flowers are not something you can force,” he says. “You need to work with them and find interesting ways of incorporating them into your ideas. If a flower wants to be fallen or bent, it’s up to me to respect it and know how to work around it. And to also find interesting ways of presenting them. Like this tulip, which I chose to open up to look entirely different from what you expect, but still be just as beautiful.”

A Proteaceae as the main flower, with a yellow tulip as the secondary focus of the arrangement. The tulip’s petals were splayed out to display a more interesting aesthetic outside its common look. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Although he has picked up the basic guidelines for flower design, Fabrizio is excited not to feel restricted by the rules. His intention is to continue learning, but mostly out of flowers themselves.  

Flower arrangements made by Fabrizio for a recent photography workshop, in Lagalá Mérida. Photo: Courtesy of Fabrizio Simoneen

“The main thing is understanding visual composition,” says Fabrizio. “I now know what I like: noise, overflow, uniqueness. And since I don’t know all the rules I’m not afraid to break them. I’m guided by my instincts, and I think that is what helps you create a style truly of your own.”

Follow Botánica alfabeta on Instagram.

Contact Fabrizio Simoneen at 999-369 8146

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