Friday, February 29, 2008

The Garden Photo Essay

Every garden has a story. The land speaks of past experiences if you listen and look. A photographer must use of all of her senses to make nature reveal its full beauty. As a photographer I like to try to make the space tell me its secrets.

At my favorite garden center, I walk up a quiet path and duck under the drooped arched branches of a tree and discover a large rock beneath. How many children have climbed and perched on this rock? How many kids have played hide-and-seek beneath here while mothers desperately tryed to locate them? How many lovers have found this quiet spot? How many photographers have taken photos here? What did this place look like before the proprietor of the nursery built this garden? I peek out between shrubbery and the sunlight glows on a large field of echinacea. This place feels spiritual...dreamlike. Memories I don't have come flooding to me....other people's memories from an active imagination. The place has a lot to say to me about relationships, solitude and peace. How do I convey these words without using them.

How do I convey everything I feel here? How do I make my viewers understand the calmness I feel on this path? Sometimes it can be done in one photograph. Sometimes the photo essay captures the whole story. A series of pictures is a story without words.

Another place... Joppa Hill Farm in Bedford NH is just a few miles from my home. Since we moved here three years ago, my daughter and I have taken trips to see the animals there. We walk the fields in search of wildflowers. We run through the tall grasses and laugh in the sunshine. I want to remember this forever. I dress her for the occasions. She wears pretty dresses that catch the sunlight. Our photoessay is a long running one. Each visit is a photo essay in itself, but each successive visit adds to the story. I will remember my daughter growing up here.

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