Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Sculptures

Walking Roots (Steve Tobin, 2002)

The special exhibition at the Naples Botanical Garden this season is Steve Tobin: Nature Underground, with the goal of getting visitors to think “deeper about the life under your feet.” When Patti announced the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge as subjects starting with the letter “s” I thought “How perfect!”

This one, Steelroot, 2007, is perfectly located to be viewed with the mosaic of the Brazilian Garden behind it.

I love the grace of this white sculpture but was surprised how beautiful it looks from the walk to the right, seen as a backdrop of the arrangement of these plantings.

There has been a lot of dancing going on in the garden lately. Maybe a little ballet by Dancing Roots, White, 2010, or some jitter-bugging by Dancing Roots, Red, 2011, or maybe the Tango is your dance of choice by Dancing Roots, Yellow, 2011. I’m not a dancer so maybe these sculptures bring to mind different dances for you – I wonder what dances are taking place underground in your neighborhood.

Another sculpture is titled, Romeo and Juliet, 2003. I haven’t heard the artist’s explanation, but there seems to be a longing between them. What do you think? It doesn’t feel nearly as sensual as the dancing roots, though.

The next photo is of Steelroot, 2010 taken with Lake Tupke in the background. I love how the graceful curves of the sculpture and the curved edges of the lake support each other. This sculpture is composed of three parts that are carefully placed together.

Refractive Reflections of Its Kind

There were three or four of these mirrored sculptures on display in different places around the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida during the 2017-18 winter tourist season. There are different artists and sculptures each year and this was one of the most thought provoking, especially from a photographic perspective. The garden is subtropical so the backgrounds can be very busy; perfect for highlighting the impact of multi-faceted mirrors, but difficult when composing a photograph with the sculpture as the focal point. I used Lightroom to blur the background vegetation.

Response to Becky’s October Squares reflecting something kind or of its kind.

Texture Within Texture

DSC_0007-2

During the 2018-19 tourist season, the Naples Botanical Garden hosted an exhibit of  sculptures by glass artist Hans Goto Frabel. There was a variety of sculptures made of glass, but these made from mirrors challenged me the most as I attempted to capture them. I photographed them week after week, learning from every attempt.

Jude is focusing on textures as she inspires us to join her in thinking about the foundations of good photography. This week’s assignment is to find something smooth and get in close to photograph it. I have been wanting to do a post on these and this is perfect – although getting in close involves cropping.

The above sculpture was placed on the entrance boardwalk, and the facets reflected the tropical foliage, the railings, and the beautiful floor. The smooth, reflective texture of the mirror facet shows the texture of the flooring boards.

DSC_0007-2-2

The next mirrored sculpture was situated where I turned to the boardwalk over The Water Garden. This sculpture was impossible to walk by without experiencing how the facets fractured the landscapes around it. I took a boat-load of photos of this one – and later deleted them from my lap-top. The smooth, reflecting surfaces become even more disorienting when captured in a two-dimensional photograph.

DSC_0266-2-2

When getting up close, it becomes even more disorienting.

DSC_0266-2

You can see other interpretations of smooth textures by visiting Jude’s blog here.

Farewell Delights

I had a beautiful day for my last visit to the Naples Botanical Garden before we headed north. Everything looked really different because they had been cleaning out the water gardens and trimming out the foliage in the other gardens. Then I realized that the glass sculptures were gone – and how empty the garden felt. You can read about them by clicking on these links. Surprise at the Garden and Balancing Act   Here are a few photos from other visits as I continued to practice capturing the beauty that they brought to the landscaping where they were installed.

This exhibit is one of my two favorite from the past five years. I also really liked the origami sculptures. Amazing Lines – Origami   As I wandered around I kept thinking I should walk over to where a sculpture is to see how the light is catching it – oops, it isn’t there any more. But there were many things to catch my interest.

When I reached the succulent garden I was excited to see the cacti that were blooming, especially this one where I could capture the various phases of blooming.

And this one that has such an interesting structure.

_DSC0103

The produce garden is growing nicely, showing people the types of edibles that can be grown in Florida and to provide fresh produce for the chef at the cafe.

As I was sitting at the cafe I saw the chef walking back from collecting something from another part of the garden – maybe by where the bananas grow. My scone and ginger limeade was excellent.

_DSC0022

We are in Michigan now and I am finding delight in the early spring landscape, even though I skipped the long, dreary, cold winter. These images of Florida seem very far away, both in distance and time.

Circle of Friends

_DSC0241

This sculpture by Gary Lee Price was a part of last year’s special sculpture display at the Naples Botanical Garden and I was so excited to see it is still on display. I made several attempts to photograph its spirit last year – but deleted most of the photos. On this visit, clouds blew in as I was finishing my photography walk-about so I had ideal conditions for another try. All my previous attempts on sunny days (Florida isn’t named the Sunshine State by accident) resulted in too many highlights that Lightroom couldn’t correct enough. 

_DSC0265

With the currant administration’s nasty rhetoric about how dangerous immigrants are, especially those seeking asylum, this sculpture holds special meaning for me. See that spot on the bottom left where I joined in the circle – leaving enough space for you to join me._DSC0246

 

This sculpture touches my soul and represents so many of the values I have chosen to believe in and build my life upon. 

_dsc0028

I remember when I first experienced someone who was poor face-to-face instead of just hearing about “the poor.” I was in second grade and we were instructed to get in a circle and hold hands. The girl that was next to me, the one I would need to hold hands with, was someone who I had been only vaguely aware of – she was always on the fringes of our class. This wasn’t a “hoity-toity” private school, just a neighborhood school in a working class neighborhood but she was different somehow, maybe her clothes were a little more warn than everyone else’s or her hair never looked clean. I had to take her hand and somewhere within me I was uncomfortable even though I had never thought about her nor understood why she seemed different. Then I took her hand. Her hand was uncomfortable in my hand and I felt repulsion. Her hand was horribly dry and crusty. And in that instant I knew very deeply in my mind and heart what poor was. Poor is being different, poor is being on the margins because poor is not having enough basic needs to be able to put a decent hand forward. Poor is suffering. That was almost 70 years ago and today I am weeping because of her exclusion from our class and because she probably never had access to the simple rights and privileges I would experience.

_dsc0022

“I hope I can assist the world in visualizing a place where fences and boundaries, both real and imagined, are non-existent; a place where bias and prejudice are long forgotten; and finally, a place where acts of kindness, mutual respect, and love are everyday happenings.” – Gary Lee Price (obtained from his website)

I believe that this statement comes from Price’s very soul because it would be impossible to sculpt these figures to depict his message, his goal, without believing in it with all of his mind and heart. His written beliefs shine so brightly through this sculpture that they have lit my soul.

_DSC0255

The artist has maintained the integrity of each animal’s body but in fantasy has illuminated each creatures’ personality. The penguin has a crown and the elephant has a necklace. The fantasy within the sculpture is the depiction of human experience in these animals joined together, this circle of friends. It expresses joy and laughter and movement, the love and respect within relationship, the display of inclusion in spite of differences.

_DSC0264

I think I almost captured the energy this sculpture emits – the movement that can be felt. I think that when we are in troubled times, like the people of all nations and continents are currently experiencing, it is difficult to see how we will work our way out to better times. We can become de-moralized, feel helpless and incapable of making our world a better place. But we can do it, you and I.

We can embrace and shake the dry, cracked and dirty hand of a person we meet and offer some help while respecting the dignity of the person-hood we see in their eyes. Maybe instead of looking at and seeing difference in skin color, hair texture, or clothing styles we can share a space with them, looking for ways to work together, respecting all contributions. Maybe instead of hearing and being frustrated with a difficult to understand accent, we can work to find ways to listen to what is being communicated so we can find commonalities and relationship for a better outcome for all. We can admire them for being smart enough to be bilingual.

Most important, we in the U.S. can be thinking about the election coming up in less than two years. We need to get beyond the noise of empty promises and lies to understanding the candidate’s values. Do they recognize income inequality and have ideas about how to bring about wages that allow all people who work to be able to support their families without living below the poverty line? What do candidates believe are human rights – adequate education to give all people skills to earn a living and critical thinking ability to participate in our democratic system, basic health care for everyone, adequate housing, healthy food, access to infrastructure? Do they believe children should be protected and taken care of – even Black or Jewish or Muslim or Hispanic? Do they embrace “other” and “different” so that social values can continue to change to make room for people who aren’t just like us? What do they believe about our place in the world? Do they believe we should fight only for our interests or do they believe all people should have a share of the world’s resources? Does the candidate recognize the complexity of international relationships and articulate a way of relating to foreign leaders that is respectful of our rights and the rights of the people of foreign countries?

Different does not mean the same as bad, illegal, immoral, or dangerous. My challenge for the coming year is to find ways to respect different while fighting against actions that are really bad, illegal, immoral and dangerous. I need to clarify my values and work to understand whether proposed national policy is consistent with what I believe. I need to continue working to do what I can to make life better for those individual who have been denied basic needs because of their differences and political greed. And of course there is room for you to join me in creating millions of concentric and overlapping Circle(s) of Friends.

_dsc0034

Let’s join hands.