Michael is a florist at Pete's Flower Shop in the South Bronx. He has worked at the shop for over 25 years, November 8, 2015
Bronx, New York, USA
Michael opens the bud of a red carnation before adding it to a funeral wreath.
His hands are always working, catering to customers' needs for every milestone - birthdays, proms and graduations.
Michael adds a carnation to a funeral wreath.
Working during the busy holiday season calls for long hours to meet demands, up to as much as 20 hours during the holidays like Mother's Day and Valentine's. "Anyone who wants to work with flowers has to sacrifice home those holidays," says Michael.
The outer petals of roses are discarded to create the perfect bouquet.
Stems and petals accumulate on the floor as a worker creates a funeral wreath.
A worker improvises as he adds ribbon to a floral arrangement he just finished.
Michael takes an order for flowers to be delivered the next day.
Michael believes flowers hold a deeper meaning then their immediate beauty. "A flower, in my opinion, never dies. When a flower is given to someone it remains in the heart forever."
As the busy floral parlor quiets down Michael begins a personal floral arrangement- a crucifix for his mother's wake a few days away.
"Flowers symbolize what I am feeling in my heart so others see how I feel," he says.
The centerpiece is made up orchids, one of the most expensive flowers in the shop.
Michael gazes off into the distance as he arranges flowers for his mother's wake. Flowers usually last between seven to ten days after they are purchased. Eventually they give in the metabolic process. In this, Michael sees a parallel.
"We are all the Lord's creation. When it's our time to go, we go," he says. "You're always going to cherish the memories shared together and remember all the good times, because a person might pass away, but the spirit never dies. The spirit lasts forever."