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Amid the symmetry, formal English and Italian gardens retain much mystery.
Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers in the field.
Editor's note: These pictures were shot with hand-held medium format rangefinder and 35mm SLR cameras, printed by Beth Dow's husband Keith Taylor in platinum-palladium.
In Dow's words: "These photographs were taken in formal English and Italian gardens. The shape and mystery of these places are a natural draw for me as they offer glimpses of the rich traditions of garden making. I am interested in garden history and historical concepts of paradise, and aim for pictures that have a meditative quality to reflect the spiritual urges that inspired the earliest gardens some six thousand years ago. My images are not depictive. I use the land before me as a jumping off point, implying light or shadow where perhaps there was none, as a way to create my own path through the garden. In fact, by positioning the lens, cropping my prints, and using burning and dodging to guide the viewer's eye through a picture, I feel that I too am a gardener in a sense. I am after that "slant of curious light" that is the genius of a place."
About the photographer:
Minneapolis native Beth Dow lived in London for many years, developing an eye for unusual landscapes and an interest in fine printmaking and the art/craft dynamic of photography. Her pictures examine ways we shape and experience the land, and describe the territory between appearance and experience. Dow’s work has shown internationally, including America, Britain, Japan, and China, and received several awards, including Grand Prize in the inaugural 2008 Photography.Book.Now/Blurb competition, Critical Mass/Photolucida top-six finalist in 2007, and fellowships from the McKnight foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She shoots with a hand-held medium format camera.
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