"Often we are far from the garden of our dreams, but nearby may be a reminder of it, waiting to be seen." So writes Sam Abell in his book Seeing Gardens, and it is that same subtle perspective he brings to this master class in San Miguel de Allende.
Sam begins the week with traditional garden photography, using the genre as a jumping-off point for discussing the essential elements of photography, from framing and lighting to scale, as well as the importance of recognizing moments that exist in apparently still situations. We photograph in private and public gardens, endeavoring to truly see these spaces within San Miguel's geographical, social, and cultural contexts.
San Miguel is an engaging city bursting with color and populated with vibrant markets, churches, homes, restaurants, and public spaces. We expand the scope of our photography to include unexpected “found gardens”—those existing in arrangements, fabrics, displays, and signage. In addition to field work, we spend time editing, sharing, and critiquing images, in group and individual sessions. Throughout, participants employ a simplified technique that requires neither sophisticated equipment nor software.
This is not a conventional garden photography course. Instead, it is about clarifying your vision as you create an original, compelling body of work about the “seen”—and the “yet to be seen”—gardens of San Miguel. Note: Sam requests that participants view his book Seeing Gardens (specifically the last chapter) before the workshop to clarify the expansive, even esoteric, possibilities of what a garden can be.