THE GIFT OF FLOWERS CAN SAY MORE THAN JUST WORDS. OUR ANCIENT ANCESTORS ALREADY KNEW THIS. INDEED THE HABIT OF OFFERING FLOWERS FOR NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, DATES ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE TIME OF THE OLD GREEKS, ROMANS, EGYPTIANS AND CHINESE AND HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT PART OF OUR CULTURE SINCE THE MIDDLE AGES. STRANGELY ENOUGH THE SYMBOLIC OF GIVING FLOWERS AS WE NOW IT, DESCENDS DIRECTLY FROM THE VICTORIAN AGE.
The Victorian age was an era in which people did not believe in expressing their emotions. Boundaries were raised. Everything happened according to etiquette. Love was not something talked about, let alone sexual desires. It was in this time that the habit of offering flowers was cultivated to a way of communications. A form of expressing what one couldn’t do with words. great effort and detail went into giving meaning to everything about the flower. Its color, size, condition, any accompanying flower and even flowers' position in relation to other flowers all conveyed meaning without saying a word. But what it all came down to, in most cases, were expressions of love and desire.
Had you lived in the Victorian period, you needed a university degree to decode the meaning of all those silent but symbolic offerings. What you might today say in a text message or email could be sent without a single word, provided you knew the meaning of the flowers and their characteristics. You can imagine the messed up situations that could occur when one misunderstood someone’s true reasons for giving flowers. Today, still thankful objects to be offered and received for various situations, the offering of flowers is merely a symbolic gesture. We are less reserved, more direct in what we want.
Though we have lifted the heavy veil of Victorian rules since more than 100 years already in our part of the world, some regions are still conservative when it comes to expressing ones sexuality. Serbia legally acknowledges homosexuality since 1994 but still doesn’t give similar rights and legal protections to same sex couples as to their opposites. Vladimir is 23 years old and lives in Belgrade, the capital city if Serbia. Being of the first generation that was brought up in this legal situation, he knows as no other that living in Serbia and being gay is still not an easy thing to do. When Vladimir visited Amsterdam earlier this year, he met Gert Kist and decided on a photo shoot with the Dutch Malemodel.nl photographer. The shoot was executed in two contrasting settings. First there is the romantic, innocent and almost distant symbolic image of Vladimir, offering flowers as a means to express his feelings. And next to that there is the much more raw, much more sexual expression of Vladimir’s feelings, emotions and desires. It is like Vladimir is lifting his own veil, offering his sensual character and showing his world that he is a sexual and desirable human being. Vladimir’s gift says more than words as well. With and without flowers. –BM-
GERT KIST | BEAUTIFULMAG