Photography is a great tool for the garden designer whether used to portfolio a finished garden, to create a moodboard or to give ideas about possible planting combinations. It also utilises a lot of the same skills so that when I’m on a shoot I feel I’m exercising my sense of judgement as a designer.
Many of the same watchwords such as simplicity and distillation apply to both disciplines. More often than not, the strongest images will be the simplest ones in which the number of elements are reduced so that the essence of what I am trying to convey is strengthened or distilled. The ability to judge line, space and colour in composition is also crucial. Photography has also inevitably heightened my awareness of light and how it’s quality may change a scene, so much so that although transient and intangible, I really think of it as another material.
As with great gardens, a great image articulates an emotion so that when you look at a beautiful landscape for example, you might well experience a sense of serenity, longing, disquiet or even fear and this is what I am really aiming for as both photographer and garden designer.
I’m also interested in expressing the character of plants and in particular their character when presented in association with other plants and materials. I might try to express the sociability of a group of astrantias or the cool serenity of pine against granite. In this way, my photography also becomes an expression of my design thinking and never just an assemblage of pretty pictures.
As well as my design work I undertake professional photographic assignments associated with any aspect of the garden whether for publication, for other designers’ portfolios or for private commission. Please contact me for further information.