Through My Eyes

Flower Days · Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox

Today we share the final chapter in our ‘Through My Eyes’, photo essay series, in partnership with Olympus.

Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox is one of our favourite local florists. Truth be told, we admire her stunning floral creations as much as we do her incredible work ethic. She’s been working in floristry since the age of 16, she’s a Mum to two boys under three, and she still rises at 2.45am every week to make the trip out to Melbourne’s wholesale flower markets in Epping. Hats off to all the hardworking florists out there, seriously!

Today we spend a day in the life with Mel, as she shares a series of  photographs taken on the new Olympus PEN-F.

Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox
This series is proudly supported by Olympus

‘Anthurium have been regarded as a pretty bad 80s flower until these NYC florists making them cool again, and now they are back! These ones are grown by a little guy up in Phillip Island.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

Melanie Stapleton in her Brunswick floral studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘Driving home from the flower markets in Epping at 5.20am.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Joe at the flower market. He is one of our favourite suppliers, and his family have a farm up in Silvan. You really make friends with the growers when you have to see them at 4am, he is awesome!’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘The last of the nerines of the season at the flower market.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Kit helping load the van for deliveries.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Dusty picking flowers to take to his kinder teacher.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Gorgeous local kumquats that come from one of our suppliers in Silvan. You can eat those guys!’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Having a cuddle with Dad before he goes out on his flower delivery.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

‘Getting ready to set up for a big event. Obviously there’s more flowers about to go into this vase!’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

Mel getting acquainted with the Olympus PEN-F. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘These are really beautiful local tulips, they’re grown up in the Dandenongs.’ Photo – Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox.

Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox
10th of June 2016

I’ve been a florist now for close to 24 years, which makes me feel very old! I was 16 when I left school, and I still remember my Mum standing out the front of our local florist, while I went inside to ask for a job. Cecilia Fox has been my baby now for nearly a decade, and in the last five years the business has really blossomed. It’s been a wonderful blur, and my partner Jamie and I have been so lucky to be able to meld family life and work life together in a beautiful shamble.

There is no ordinary day when you are a florist. Every day is different, but on a market day I get up around 2.45am (the new Epping market starts a whole hour earlier than the old location in Footscray!). Going to the market and sourcing the most perfect and beautiful blooms is one of my favourite parts of the job.

When I return from the market, I go back home to give our young sons Dusty and Kit a cuddle, before going to our Brunswick warehouse to meet my awesome staff for a day of work. Depending on what we have on, there might be 3-10 of us flowering away. My days are a mix of flowers, office duties, meetings with clients, sampling and sourcing.

For this photo series, I was inspired by the ever-changing seasons. I feel so lucky to be so fully immersed in the seasons every day. At the moment I love the last big heavy blooms of the summer and autumn, alongside the winter varieties that have just come into season and are thoughtful and quiet. The collision of the seasonal flowers is really fun, challenging and of course beautiful. We go from hoping everything doesn’t die in 40 degree heat, to having to buy some blooms more than a week in advance so they open and perfect for the job, and I tried to capture the essence of this feeling with these photos.

While I have 24 years as a florist under my belt, taking photos is not my forte. I usually take all of my photos on my phone, so I was curious to see if I could master the Olympus PEN-F camera. I must say this was the type of camera that even a novice like me could wrap their head around, even the auto function takes really awesome shots. You can then send the photos to your phone using WiFi, which is great for sharing them across social media.

My favourite shot has to be the one of Jamie and Kit having a cuddle in a warehouse, it’s too much! Kit has just started walking and has recently become fascinated with flowers. He is always picking them and moving them around the warehouse, that’s why in this photo he is being held captive by Jamie! I also especially like the one of my friend Joe at the flower market. When you spend time with people at the flower markets at 4am a few times a week, relationships become more than just business. Joe is one of our favourite growers and suppliers, he and his family have a farm up in Silvan, and he also sells other local growers flowers. That’s the best thing about flowers, they bring people together.

For the true camera enthusiast. The Masterpiece : Olympus PEN F.

Melanie Stapleton in her Brunswick floral studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.