Indulge in’s photography and floral arrangements


Topics is the studio of New York based florist and photographer Doan Ly. I first encountered her work on Instagram. There are floral designers aplenty on the platform, many cultivating a fairly similar aesthetic — the sparkly clean, rosey-toned, washed-out, candy-sweet photography, peppered with inspirational quotes. This type of work may be aesthetically adequate and fit for purpose, but it is not particularly inspiring.

Amongst this homogeneity, stands out. Doan Ly is skilful not only in the composition of delicately balanced flower arrangements, she is also a talented photographer. This makes her work fit for special events, as well as editorials, and styling features. Having never seen the arrangements in real life, the photographs are what I associate with the studio’s work. Ly has an eye sensitive to the gentlest of details. She brings out the softness, resilience, vitality, and sensuality of flowers in painterly photographs that have a special depth. Ly favours peachy tones that emerge from murky blueish backgrounds. Some of the images have almost a neon-like quality, and the unexpected combinations of flowers with mysterious vessels and translucent, crinkled plastics gives them a tone that is at once futuristic and reminiscent of romantic Renaissance paintings. They cultivate a sweet feeling of lyricism, or a distant nostalgia. The Instagram account of the studio is the best place to keep up to date with their work.