Sculpture gardens provide the opportunity to mix still life with a little bit of portraiture. While the human-shaped sculptures don’t take direction and each only provides one pose, the artist has already performed some of the work in terms of evoking an expression.
I met Michelle in the middle of the day to see what we could each get from the Grounds For Sculpture, a 42-acre park in Hamilton, New Jersey. The afternoon sun provided some harsh lighting, and with the sweltering heat, I wasn’t feeling the urge to carry too much equipment. I settled for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM AF and the Canon EOS 1D Mark III with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II ISM. I dragged along no lighting equipment except for an on-camera Speedlite flash used sparingly.
Many of the sculptures on the grounds are influenced by the French Impressionists. For example, one brings Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe to life, while the park also includes a man-made replica of Monet’s garden at Giverny, with a bridge over a pond of waterlilies.
It’s kitschy, but fun, and makes me consider the strange idea that a 21st-century photographer is observing a 20th-century sculptor who mimicked 19th-century painters. Time travel is possible.
The colors of the sculptures are generally subdued and dull. I thought it would be interesting to do most of the photography in black and white, though I’ve let a few remain in color. (I shot in color and applied black-and-white filters digitally.)
I’ve known Michelle since high school, and I’m excited to see her become more interested in photography. Michelle’s photographs from Grounds For Sculpture are on Flickr, while mine are below.
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About digital prints. Chromira prints are produced by a high-quality print shop in the Princeton area. Metal prints and canvas prints are produced in New York City.