Your Garden is like your Spirit

This summer I watched and visited some gardens. I talked with owners. I tried to find my entrance : flowers, grass, trees & garden, maintenance, house & garden, proportions, harmony…

I came to this : a garden looks like the gardener’s spirit. It can be crazy, or multifaceted, or free, or clean, ordered, surprising, eccentric…

If your mind tends towards order, your life as a gardener becomes a fight, a struggle, a taming game.

Because your house is smooth and clean, but nature is growing, inventing, nature is funny, blossoming, changing. The garden lives, invites the sun, the trees, the leaves and the feathers, nature moves, casts shadows, and will always win…

So what? If I had a garden, I imagine I would consider my work as a dance with the forces I’m seeing. Offer flowers to the bees, shelters and water to the birds, some wild free places for the little ones like ladybugs and grasshoppers. Some pruning, but not to much. Tame it a little, the necessary only. Let it breathe in the wind…

In the end, rosebud throws up its little arms, right?

Thanks for reading!

 

“Why do you live in this place?” – Shore & Depardon

Bonjour tout le monde !

In the preface of a French photography book called “Habiter en France” (“To live in France”, by Raymond Depardon), the writer says that it’s one of the most intimate question : “Why do you live in this place?”.

Indeed, I think he’s right. It comes from the deepest of the deep. Parents, roots, the sky, people around. We stay “here”, but why? What’s the bond? What do we like? Why do we live here? These questions seem to put us in a thoughtful silence…

Today, the 23 December 2017, I got this huge, heavy, mythical book from Stephen Shore, one of the best American photographer ever : “Uncommon Places”. It’s a present I made to myself…

Both books, one in the USA, one in France, like to show what is rarely showed. Not the Eiffel tower. Not New York. But little roads, normal houses, parking lots. And certainly not in a bad way. Uncommon places in America, and where do people live in France.

They both “insist” on photographing these places until we feel the mood, the sky, the silence or the little winds…

I remember this friend from Kansas, feeling the summer air here in France, like… “Ohhhhh… There is something…”.

 

I LOVE to have these two books together. In this blog, it’s because I found a common structure, a pattern, of course. Pictures of normal life. And as usual :

The pleasure comes from “finding the subtle differences” within these cousin works…

 

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading!

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Originally published in 1982, Stephen Shore’s legendary Uncommon Places has influenced more than a generation of photographers. Shore was among the first artists to take color beyond the domain of advertising and fashion photography, and his large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape stands at the root of what has become a vital photographic tradition over the past forty years. Uncommon Places: The Complete Works, published by Aperture in 2004, presents a definitive collection of the landmark series, and in the span of a decade, has become a contemporary classic. Now, for this lushly produced reissue, the artist has added twenty rediscovered images and a statement explaining what it means to expand a series now many decades old.

When your imagined map doesn’t fit with reality…

If you meet someone online, or even if you talk on Skype with a friend you know “in real life” but you never went to his/her home, your brain… works.

Your brain draws a map of this person’s apartment, or house.

According to the informations you have, you can NOT prevent your mind to invent “the other person’s place”. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Well, errr : nope.

You can hold two pictures of a room, or a complete Skype “Hey, do you want to see my place?” wandering : your brain does it : it builds a set of images and a map, it builds the light, the mood, the size of all of it.

Then…

One day you GO there. And this is disturbing. This porch, these lanterns, this mirror, this corridor, this carpet, this bathroom : you were all wrong, right? It’s different.

It clicks. You brain literally swallows the environment. It is trained to do it!

Now, you’re back home. And you have TWO memories of this place. Ah ah! So there!

The place you imagined. And the place you saw for real.

These are two different things!

OK, this makes us think, right? It’s a set of questions…

Our mind is constantly imagining what “will happen”, how this “will be”. Then, in front of reality, it… “fixes” it. It works in real time : if you hear a glass crashing on the floor behind you, your brain draws a whole decor, a scenery of “what I will see when I turn my head”.

What is disillusion?

Can you do that for a whole culture? A whole country?

What can we do, or study, with this knowledge? What if you were writing a movie? What tension could you use? More : what will your brain do with the first, imagined place, once you know pretty well the real one? Is it vanishing? Is it useless to keep it? Why? What if you studied the differences between what you expected and reality? What does it show about your brain?

What if you’re a couple and you both imagined the place you will be for a holiday, from a set of five pictures on the web? Would you talk about it, once you’re on site? I mean… about the differences of… the differences of what you imagined?

OK, I’ll have one more glass of wine before going to bed 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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