The Garden of Good and Evil

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“Truth, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. You believe what you choose and I’ll believe what I know.”  ~ Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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For the past few years I’ve had the privilege of photographing public gardens for Horticulture Magazine.  My last assignment took me to Alcatraz, the last place you would expect to find beautiful gardens and landscape.  Quick history, this maximum federal prison in the San Francisco Bay closed it’s doors in 1963, along with the gardens cultivated by the prison’s inmates. In 2003, the Garden Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service began a collaboration to restore the gardens.

I was able to capture the images needed for the magazine feature before high sun.  With time to spare on the island, we were given a backstage pass to the upper levels of the prison and to the Ai Weiwei exhibit, which was on its last day of viewing.

In the prison, we were ushered to the upper deck of Block C and given access to the lever which secures the entire cell block.  Standing in the darkness, the sound of 50 cells slamming shut, with the final latch of the deadbolt, is a sound you want to quickly erase from your tape.  I took a moment to stand inside a cell and decided to capture a few images looking out and across the aisle.  Clearly, this place was designed to house the worse of the worst.

The bonus of the visit was the Ai Weiwei @Large exhibit.  We happened to be on the island on the last day of the Exhibit and our host generously walked us through. “Ai Weiwei is a Chinese Contemporary artist and activist.  A political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights.  After many arrests and incarcerations in China,  Ai Weiwei was, in July of 2015, given a passport and is now allowed to travel abroad. If you are interested and would like to learn more about Ai Weiwei and his art, this is a wonderful article. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/24/ai-weiwei-alcatraz-lego-extraordinary

If you have a bird phobia, you’ll want to make note that Alcatraz is a nesting colony for Western Gulls.  There were a few Hitchcock moments.

 

Without further ado, here are my favorite images from Pier 33 to Alcatraz and back.  Enjoy! ✌🏾

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Now it gets real.

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I Went To A Garden Party

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“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~  John Muir

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My daughter’s school offers an elective course in sustainable gardening in their curriculum.  Their teacher, Hovey Clark, is passionate about gardening, the food it generates and the healthy lifestyle it affords.  The Class of 2020 began working in the garden during their first year at Priory and now, as seventh graders, have become pros at cultivating, growing and sustaining this massive garden.  The garden is known as The Franklin Garden, situated at the back of the school’s property in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains in Portola Valley.

As you can imagine, this, for me is photographer bliss and allows me to keep my blog post 100% on point (photographing the stuff that put me on the map, so to speak, with the 2020 kids.  The kids of Priory participated in preparing The Franklin Garden for this amazing evening of food, wine and music with great friends, inspirational monks, talented gardeners and chefs and, of course, awesome musicians (one of whom is also a Priory teacher).  I’m not sure, but, when the band started playing The Doors, it just added an additional layer of cool to the event.

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Flower Power✌

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Quote of the Day:  “Open up for the Power of the Flower.” ~ Praga Khan

I have spent the last five days with the “flower children”.  This is how I refer to my friends and artists who thrive, in some capacity, in the world of horticulture.  Some are publishers of fine garden and horticulture magazines, some are garden designers, garden writers and garden photographers.  Their common denominator, they are all true gardeners.

The sun was shining on me a year ago when my favorite flower child, Patty Craft, Managing Editor and Publisher of Horticulture Magazine (also, my sister), invited me to join her at San Francisco Flower and Garden Show media pre-view event.  While I was not asked to “officially” shoot ” for her magazine, they ended up using some of my photos for their article on the show.   It was the blossoming of a new and lovely relationship.

Also on that day, I met my second favorite flower child, Rebecca Sweet.  Rebecca, is a landscape designer, author, freelance writer, garden blogger; and, unbeknownst to her, the complete force behind my leap into the blogging world.  Several months after our meeting, Rebecca invited me to a luncheon at her home with renowned garden photographer, Saxon Holt.  Sitting in Rebecca’s garden with these two revered artists, I gained a wealth of information and inspiration.  It was after that meeting that I turned the corner with Woodside Images .  From these two masters, I learned that I needed to create a unique niche for my style of photography, promote myself shamelessly; and, most importantly, start blogging about it.

Patty and Rebecca at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, CA.

I am a Gemini and my personality is true to its sign.  Gemini world is one of duality.  This can also possibly explain and help describe my style of photography; or, if you will, the unique niche I’ve created.  Some days it’s all about horses and other days it’s a walk in the garden.   It’s been whispered, that in order for me to be successful as an artist, it would be wise to choose between the two.  Flowers and horses have been good to me for a very long time.  Both are an inspiration to my art and to my soul.  In staying true to myself as an artist and a Gemini, I choose both!  Enjoy!