9 minute read

Planting Seeds

Embedded in layers of evocative symbolism, Rachael Porter’s Greenhouse excavates metaphors that bind agriculture and anthropology with one distinct voice

How does your garden grow? Rachael Porter’s patch is a messily sown tract of wildflowers and weeds – hastily arranged with a hobbyist’s hand.

“Half of my plants sprout perfectly, the other half die soon after,” she sniggers. “I’m a fledgling enthusiast. It’s rough.”

A filmmaker by trade, Rachael’s interest in horticulture stems from her background in Tennessee’s ‘scenic city’ – or Chattanooga, to be more exact. Nicknamed after its verdant locales, the metropolis borders the leafy foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, its flourishing environment a textbook setting for those engaged in cultivation.

Here, Rachael’s been advocating her local businesses for years, creating films for local organizations that highlight the state’s natural beauty. Gig work paid the bills and kept her afloat, but in 2022, her focus has shifted. With the aid of X-H2, she’s been creating something more intimately linked to her obsessions.

“Passion projects just haven’t been attainable for me. The grind of a freelancer is something I’m involved in most days, so I’ve seldom had the time,” she explains. “I try to maintain a serious work/life balance, investing in my desires outside of the nine-to-five slog. Personal ventures have always felt like mountains I can’t climb, until now.”

Rooted in her love of gardening and the great outdoors, the kernels of Greenhouse materialized in a number of ways. One such idea came on a muggy spring day, while Rachel was tending to the shrubs of her burgeoning backyard.

“I was repotting some plants after a spat with a loved one. As I was working, I noticed the soil was bad, and the roots needed replacing. That’s when it struck me – this perfect analogy.

“It came to me as this naturally good fit, communicating the season of life I was experiencing.”

Recognizing value in the simplicity of this metaphor, Rachael acknowledges the stems and offshoots of her conflict. From here, she was able to enact a meaningful settlement to her dispute. It may have been straightforward, but the implication of this symbol was enough to kick-start a wider consideration of the connection at large.

“It helped me realize there’s a lot that’s outside of your control. Like flowers, relationships need to be grown and nurtured, but more importantly, cared for.”

Perhaps more perceptively, each seasonal cycle imparted a greater wisdom – that blossoms and beauty don’t last forever, nor are they supposed to. This inescapable progression renders everything fleeting, fading like the petals of an autumnal shift, grasping the summer away.

“That’s the natural rhythm – life cycling towards death, then all the way back again. Situations are constantly changing and rearranging. In a culture that privileges instant gratification, I think this sifting through the dirt – being in it for the long haul – is a key aspect in this film. We should strive to face difficulties with curiosity, digging deeper to confront the complexity of emotions that live within us.”

Like any good idea, numerous channels bind the complexities of Rachael’s thoughts together. Cultivated over time, her initial concepts and theories took a while to gestate. The crystalized vision didn’t materialize immediately, and although frustrations abounded, the final idea was more than worth the wait.

“In 2019, I planted a load of seeds. At first, they didn’t end up blooming, and that really discouraged me. Then, in the spring of 2020, what I thought were a bunch of weeds suddenly started to thrive. It was a crazy mix, and it was totally gorgeous.

“It reminded me that you have to keep hold of patience. Whether it’s an idea or a plant, there’s something rewarding about organically developing things yourself. It’s really special when that happens instinctively, without force.”

Matching the splendor of natural environments with the lyrical musings of a spoken word voiceover, Greenhouse places its literal and symbolic namesake front and center. In the shadowy corners of a murky conservatory, an interpretative dance is gracefully intercut with strident flourishes of gardening in all its grueling forms. Perseverance and self-doubt are fleshed out amidst the scenic landscapes, unifying allegorical layers as a wearied woman contends with rigid, unyielding terrain.

A series of flares, flashes, and dissolves navigate us through a tale of ultimate triumph. Eventually, our flower farmer must face her doppelganger in the greenhouse, confronting these apprehensions and misgivings in a beautifully poetic way.

Making peace with the wildness of her worries, the emblematic ‘shadow self’ is led out of the dark and into the light. Here, she dances alongside our protagonist, calmed and acceding to her unpredictable rhythms, accepting these volatilities as an inevitable – but necessary – part of existence.

“I’ve always been someone who processes life through metaphor. I find it grounding,” Rachael reasons. “I spent the past few months reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s all about discovering your creative potential – facing the difficulties that go along with the process. The observations she makes were a main influence on the thematic direction of the film. I thought to myself: what can my fears teach me? How can I move forward, without feeling hindered by them?

“Internally, I think most of us are plagued with self-doubt, but we have to adopt brave faces. I wanted the environment of this piece to feel like a back-and-forth battle. Imposter syndrome doesn’t always reign supreme. For me, it’s dependent on the day. Sometimes you’re in it, sometimes you’re not. It can be a war!

“When it really comes down to it, I think fears actually showcase vulnerabilities, and help to illuminate the things we really care about. Hopefully, this film speaks to people in that way. We won’t get anywhere if we don’t sit with ourselves. I don’t think it’s wise to overanalyze to the point of self-absorption – but you’re not healthy when you’re ignoring your internal elements.”

Highlighting the importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing, Rachael’s standpoint is a nuanced call to balance and resilience when dealing with hardship. With film as her empathy machine, she’s exemplified a slice of Niebuhr’s time-honored wisdom – accepting that which she cannot change, enacting courage in what she can, and learning when to know the difference.

“I don’t want to prescribe a definitive resolution, or methodology. For me, I’m able to sit with my fears and process them. For some, that may not be so wise – they might need support. Not everyone can step into their greenhouse alone.

“In general, I hope the audience take away their own interpretations. This seedling was supposed to be representative of a wish, a dream… in essence, whatever you want it to be. I think it can be an allegory for creatives – but there’s a lot of things we collectively want and hope for that could also apply.”

While working through the process of producing, filming, and editing this short, Rachael’s initial conceptions became ironically self-referential. Paradoxically, she found herself in precisely the same position as the protagonist she’d created in her mind.

“This was the biggest film crew I’d ever contended with. Translating and infusing my imagination to multiple sets of people was a worry, but I had to make peace with it.”

Using X-H2 and FUJINON Premistas, the fluency of Rachael’s vision made a cinematic structure essential. It would have to mirror the eloquence of Elizabeth Moore’s poetry, and reflect the fluidity of Marah Bates’s free-flowing dances. Self-evidently, Fujifilm was the obvious choice.

“X-H2 handled those Premistas really well. The lenses have such depth and contrast. We had a colorist, but straight out of the camera, the images looked amazing. Fujifilm’s color science is unsurpassed – the dynamic range makes for totally stunning pictures.”

Documenting the vigorous actions of farming and gardening, the camera’s IBIS capabilities meant Rachael could go handheld as and when she required, foregoing any anxieties about unwanted shake. Any 8K images were matched with low T-stops, a picture-perfect embodiment of the film’s visual sensibility – pointed natural beauty matched with dreamy, ethereal mindscapes.

“The stabilization allowed us to be completely mobile. These activities are obviously very physical, so we wanted to match that, and X-H2 kept up perfectly.

“Clarity is spectacular. We could find the frames as and when we wanted to – punching in with that level of resolution was great. Butterflies aren’t going to wait around for you to frame up!

“When it came to aperture, we stuck at around T2.8 to T3.5. There’s a softness in that space which I love, particularly with the bokeh. In a practical sense, these zooms gave us flexibility too. We had a pretty ambitious schedule, but the equipment eased our concerns, every step of the way.”

As the credits roll, the effects of Rachael Porter’s film amount to a dignified retort – facing up to insecurity, reservation, and fear. Although ultimately subjective, one prevailing message stands above all else.

“Creativity heals – that’s the main affirmation I took away from Cameron’s book, and the final cut of this film. Whether it’s myself, or the people I’m surrounded by, I think great art helps us rebuild and prosper. It aids us in wrestling with the suffering we all experience. When you create something that’s truly your own, that’s what others connect with. They can step into that experience, and maybe, we might understand each other a little better at the end of it all.

“It’s about planting that seed – pushing it deep into the ground, without prejudice, and letting it grow.”

Rachael Porter, surrounded by a verdant selection of flowers

Photo 2022 © Varina Shaughnessy | FUJIFILM X-H2 and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/2500 sec at F2.8, ISO 640

FUJIFILM X-H2 is coming soon to your nearest FUJIFILM Authorized Dealer. Learn more and read the full specifications here.


CREATE/SEND/SHARE

see your image on our Social Channels

Share your image and story with us for a chance to be featured.

Success.
Please select an image
What would you like to share about this image and why would you like to share it?

Consumer Submission Terms and Conditions:

MY FUJIFILM LEGACY MEMORY
1. AGREEMENT TO THESE TERMS AND THE FUJIFILM PRIVACY POLICY: BY UPLOADING A SUBMISSION (as hereafter defined) AND CLICKING YOUR AGREEMENT TO THESE TERMS ON THE SITE, YOU ARE AGREEING TO BE BOUND, WITHOUT LIMITATION OR QUALIFICATION, TO THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND THE PRIVACY POLICY, AVAILABLE AT https://www.fujifilm.com/privacy_policy/?_ga=2.188005036.507021620.1563365952-1582032552.1552994675. Any information contained in a Submission, including image, contact information such as physical address and email address, and any other personal information submitted, will be used in accordance with FUJIFILM North America Corporation’s (“FNAC”) Privacy Policy and these Terms & Conditions. Each Submitter acknowledges that submission pursuant to these Terms and Conditions constitutes the necessary and proper permission for FNAC’s use of his or her Submission pursuant to these terms and the Privacy Policy. In addition, by uploading a Submission on the Site, each Submitter represents and warrants that he or she is at least 13 years of age. Yes, I’d like to receive more information regarding FUJIFILM products and services via e-mail (e.g. by newsletter or other marketing communication). I also agree that FUJIFILM North America can use my contact data in accordance with its Privacy Policy to inform me about FUJIFILM products and services by e-mail.

2. IMAGE AND PHOTO DESCRIPTION SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
A. Each photo submission (each, along with the required submission form and any provided description, a "Submission") that you as the Submitter determines to submit to FNAC must be uploaded to the submission website at http://www.fujifilm-x.com/en-us/ShareMyFujifilmLegacy (the “Site”) and accompanied by a fully completed submission form located on the Site. Each submitted photo may be no larger than 10 MB, no longer than 2000 pixels in the longest dimension, and it must be formatted as a JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, or BMP. Any description you provide relating to the image may be no more than 1500 characters, including spaces. The Submission may reflect any topic or subject matter, but must be the original work of the providing Submitter, and must depict an original photographic creation. The Submission must have been captured using a FUJIFILM X Series camera and lens (i.e. any FUJIFILM XF or XC lens) or GFX System camera and lens (i.e. any GFX lens).

B. No commitment is made by FNAC to review, consider or post any Submission, and FNAC reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to deem any Submission as inappropriate, unworthy, or unsuitable for posting for any reason, and at any time with no obligation to inform, explain, or justify its reasoning


C. The Submission(s) must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any third party person or entity, and by uploading a Submission you represent and warrant that: (a) the Submission is your personal, sole, and original creation and has not been derived from, reproduced, or copied in whole or in part from any work by a third party person or entity; (b) the Submission does not violate or infringe any intellectual property right of any kind, including but not limited to any copyright, trademark, trade name, publicity right, or other proprietary right of any person or entity; (c) the Submission is your personal, sole, and exclusive property; (d) any person(s) depicted in the image has given his or her approval for the submission; and (e) no person or property depicted in the image is depicted in a misleading, misrepresentative, or false fashion;


D. The Submission(s) and its title and description are subject to the following content guidelines, and may not, in any instance, in FNAC’s judgment:


(i) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse nudity, profanity, obscenity or pornography; content that is sexually explicit or suggestive, violent, derogatory, disparaging, or defaming; or potentially hazardous content, behavior or activities;

(ii) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse the sale, distribution, possession, use, or abuse of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, firearms, knives or other weapons; or any particular social or political agenda, issue or message;

(iii) Appear to duplicate or replicate a previously received Submission;

(iv) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse any third party owned trademarks, logos, copyrights, images, or trade dress (such as clothing bearing a distinctive logo, a third party’s artwork, or materials from movies or published in other media) including third party products;

(v) Contain, depict, or reflect any identifying information relating to any person depicted, (such as license plate numbers, personal names, email addresses or street addresses), and including any likeness or other information of famous individuals (such as past or present celebrities or public figures, or individuals impersonating them);

(vi) Contain, depict, reflect, promote, endorse or communicate content inconsistent with the reputation and corporate image FNAC and/or FUJIFILM Corporation wish to communicate; and/or

(vii) Violate any law, or reflect, advocate or promote any activity that may violate any law.

Submissions determined by FNAC to violate any of the above content guidelines are subject to rejection. FNAC reserves the right to take all necessary measures to remove any given Submission as it deems appropriate in any given instance, and/or to change any Submission title or description provided at any time and for any reason.


E. If the Submission(s) contains, reflects or incorporates any materials, content or elements that are subject to the rights of third parties, the Submitter is responsible for obtaining, prior to providing the Submission, any and all releases, permissions and consents necessary to permit the use and posting of the Submission by FNAC and its parent and affiliate companies (including without limitation, FUJIFILM Corporation). This includes obtaining the written release, permission and consent to use any name, image, likeness or property of any person who, or items that appear in or are identifiable in the Submission(s). Where a minor appears in or is identifiable in any given Submission, the Submitter is responsible to put a written release, consent and permission into place with the appropriate parent or guardian of such minor. FNAC reserves the right to request documentation reflecting these releases, permissions and consents from any Submitter at any time, and to undertake measures to remove the posting of any given Submission(s) pending receipt of such documentation.


3. LICENSE FOR FNAC TO POST AND POSTING GUIDELINES: Upon submitting a Submission, each Submitter grants to FNAC, its parent and affiliate companies, a royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual and worldwide right and license (but without any right of sublicense) to modify, adapt, and reproduce the Submission, and to use and display the Submission, in whole or in part, either (i) on the FNAC Instagram (@fujifilmx_us), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXUS), or Twitter (@FujifilmX_US) Account, as a social media post; or (ii) on a FNAC or parent/affiliate company website (such as, without limitation, www.fujifilm-x.com), including without limitation, as a homepage banner. Submitter understands that any use made of the Submission will be commercial in nature, and may be in connection with the promotion of a FUJIFILM branded product. This right and license is granted in return for FNAC’s review and consideration of the Submission and in return for the potential opportunity for publicity resulting from FNAC’s posting and tagging of the Submission, and without any right or expectation of the Submitter to receive any further compensation (directly or indirectly) of any kind. FNAC and its parent and affiliate companies shall have no obligation to provide further notice to, or to obtain any further approval from, the Submitter. All Submission postings to be made by FNAC will be subject to the following posting guidelines:


A. If FNAC posts any given Submission, FNAC will use commercially reasonable efforts to credit the Submission on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by tagging the Submitter’s handle as provided to FNAC through the Site. FNAC will credit each Submission on the FNAC website with the Submitter’s first name and last initial, and Instagram handle if and as applicable. If city and state information is provided, FNAC may reference that information as well in connection with any given Submission posting. Note that FNAC does not guarantee that any given Submission will be posted.


B. FNAC is not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Without limitation, this includes any copying, reproduction, distribution, re-postings, forwarding, linking to, or re-publication made by any third party at any time.


C. FNAC shall have the right to modify each Submission, including but not limited to, altering, and editing any provided description. By uploading a Submission, each Submitter agrees that he or she shall have no right of approval, no claim to additional compensation and no claim (including without limitation, claims based upon invasion of privacy, defamation, right of publicity or copyright) arising out of any use, alteration, modification, editing of any or all of the Submission.


4. FUJIFILM SITE CONTENT AND PROPERTY: The trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, designs, images, and content at any time displayed on the Site, including but not limited to FUJIFILM, INSTAX, FinePix, BUILD YOUR LEGACY, any other trademarks, logos, designs, and intellectual property and the FNAC posted content and images, shall at all times be the sole property of FNAC and/or its parent and affiliates, or shall be the property of third parties (such as any given Submitter) used by FNAC with any necessary and proper permissions in place. Nothing contained on the Site should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise, any license or right for any Submitter, or any third party, to use any trademark, service mark, logo, design, trade name, product name, content or image displayed on the Site without the prior written permission of FNAC. For absolute clarity and without limitation, no Submitter or third party is permitted to post, display, publish, forward, link to or re-publish any images of FNAC or any Submission(s) of any other party unless specifically authorized to do so in writing by FNAC. Neither FNAC nor its parent or affiliate companies are sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or otherwise affiliated or associated with, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform.


5. NO REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES, AND LIMIT OF LIABILITY:

A. FNAC DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS RELATING TO THE SITE AND TO ANY IMAGES OR CONTENT POSTED ON THE SITE, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED, TO THE GREATEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. FNAC ALSO ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY, AND WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR, ANY DAMAGE TO, OR VIRUSES THAT MAY INFECT, ANY SUBMITTER’S OR SITE VISITOR’S COMPUTER EQUIPMENT OR OTHER PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY LOSS OR CORRUPTION OF ANY MATERIALS, IMAGE, CONTENT, OR DATA ON ACCOUNT OF ACCESS TO, USE OF, OR BROWSING IN THE SITE, OR RELATING TO OR BY REASON OF A SUBMITTER’S SUBMISSION OF ANY MATERIALS, IMAGE, CONTENT OR DATA TO THE SITE.

B. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING OR OTHERWISE ANY OTHER PROVISION HEREOF, IN NO EVENT SHALL FNAC'S TOTAL LIABILITY TO ANY SUBMITTER OR SITE VISITOR FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, CLAIMS, LIABILITIES AND CAUSES OF ACTION (WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE) EXCEED THE AMOUNTS PAID BY SUCH SUBMITTER OR SITE VISITOR TO FNAC, IF ANY, IN CONNECTION WITH SUBMITTING MATERIALS, IMAGES, CONTENT OR DATA TO THE SITE, OR IN ACCESSING THE SITE, AS APPLICABLE. IN NO EVENT WILL FNAC BE RESPONSIBLE IN ANY INSTANCE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION LOST PROFITS, LOST OPPORTUNITIES, OVERHEAD OR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, LOSS OF USE, OR DAMAGE TO REPUTATION OR GOODWILL) EVEN IF APPRISED OF THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCH DAMAGES.


6. COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND TAKE-DOWN PROCEDURE: If you believe in good faith that any material, image, or content appearing on the Site infringes your copyright, then you (or your agent) may send us a written notice that complies with this provision, requesting that the applicable image, or content be removed. Note that by submitting this written notice, you acknowledge and agree that FNAC may forward your written notice (to include your, or your agent’s, personal contact information) and any related communications received by FNAC to the original Submitter of the allegedly infringing content. Furthermore, by submitting this notice, you acknowledge and agree that FNAC’s sole responsibility to you upon receipt of such notice will be to remove the allegedly infringing image or content, and you acknowledge and agree that you will have no further right or remedy against, or as to, FNAC for its original posting of the Submission on the Site, although you may have other rights and remedies as to the Submitter.
Your infringement notice must be sent to [email protected], and must include the following information:


A. A copy of your specific image or copyrighted work that you are claiming has been infringed;
B. identification of the FNAC posted image or content that is claimed to be infringing or the subject of infringing activity, and information reasonably sufficient to allow FNAC to locate such image or content on the Site;
C. the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the complaining copyright owner;
D. a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the image or content by the original Submitter is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
E. a statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
F. a physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
Within ten (10) business days of receipt of a written notice meeting the above-referenced requirements, FNAC will take down the allegedly infringing image or content, and notify the Submitter of such image or content of your claim / infringement allegation. FNAC will not re-post the removed, allegedly infringing image or content until it receives written notice from the complaining party that the dispute has been resolved. The process outlined in this provision is the exclusive process to be used to complain to, or otherwise advise, FNAC about any infringement of your rights by any Submitter or any Submitted image and/or content posted on the Site.
7. PRIVACY POLICY: Personal information contained in a Submission or otherwise communicated to FNAC will be used in accordance with FNAC’s Privacy Policy, which can be found here: [INSERT LINK TO PRIVACY POLICY]. In addition, and as stated above in Section 6, your contact information may be shared to a party complaining of infringement. By uploading a Submission, you hereby agree to the Privacy Policy.

8. MISCELLANOUS TERMS:

A. By uploading a Submission, a Submitter is communicating with FNAC electronically. Each Submitter consents to receive communications relating to the Submission from FNAC electronically, generally by email. FNAC may communicate by e-mail, or by other electronic methods such as through social media communications. Each Submitter agrees that all agreements, notices, disclosures and other communications that FNAC provides electronically satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing.

B. All Submissions are administered by FNAC from its offices in Valhalla, New York, United States of America. These Terms and Conditions are governed and interpreted under the laws of the State of New York without regard to its conflict of laws provisions. Each Submitter agree that any claim or dispute against FNAC arising out of or relating to the use of the Site must be resolved by a court located in the Eastern District of New York, unless otherwise agreed upon by all parties. Any claim or cause of action arising out of or related to a Submission must be filed within nine (9) months after such claim or cause of action arose, regardless of any statute or law to the contrary. In the event any such claim or cause of action is not filed within such 9 month period, each Submitter specifically agrees that such claim or cause of action shall be forever barred.

C. These Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, which are part of these Terms and Conditions and are incorporated herein by reference, set forth the entire understanding and agreement between the Submitter and FNAC with respect to a Submission. Each Submitter acknowledge that any other agreements between with respect to a Submission is superseded and of no force or effect. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions shall be determined to be unlawful, void or for any reason unenforceable by a court or other legal authority of competent jurisdiction, then that provision will be severed from these Terms and Conditions and will be deemed replaced by an equivalent enforceable provision that, as nearly as possible, reflects the intent hereof. The severance of any individual provision of these Terms and Conditions will not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

BY UPLOADING A SUBMISSION, EACH SUBMITTER AGREES
TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
AND THE PRIVACY POLICY.

  • Should be Empty: