On-Assignment Photoessay: Curves in the garden

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This series contains more images from an unusual but highly rewarding assignment last year – documenting the work of landscape architect Charles Jencks, both at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation and the Crawick Multiverse. Both of these are cosmologically-inspired ‘built landscapes’ with features that reference various features of our universe, and best appreciated with time (no pun intended) – it can take some walking not just to see everything, but to get a feel for how the various elements come together and relate to each other. This was one of those rare assignments with an open brief – both intimidating and extremely satisfying at the same time because of potential scope and expectations. Fortunately, all went well. Today’s photoessay focuses on sculpted curves in the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Note that the changing hues of grass aren’t due to profiling or color mismatches – it was shot over a couple of days and was quite windy (as you can see from the sole long exposure) and light changed fast with the flow of clouds as a result. It isn’t the same as walking through it, but that’s not physically possible for most of us – enjoy, and bonus points if you can spot the smile in the landscape! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D810, 24-120VR, 24 PCE, 85 PCE, Canon 5DSR and CY Zeiss 2.8/35 PC Distagon, and post processed with PS Workflow II.

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  1. Yes, indeed. The right combination of natural and artifice seems to remind us of both our humanity and place in nature. Maybe 🙂 James Turrell’s Skyspace at the Yorkshire Sculpture park has a similar profound affect.

  2. Jencks’ work is outstanding. I’ve not been to Crawick yet, but have spent much time wandering his installation at Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh and not far from me. There is something about these ‘landscapes’ that soothe and put a smile on your face.

  3. Praneeth Raj Singh says:

    I think your images from this assignment are some of your best work from last year. The open creative brief, and the careful planning and design of the gardens themselves make for a very pleasant set of images that ages well.

  4. Nice collection and I love that shape repeated everywhere!

  5. jamesmck says:


  6. The gardens are indeed impressive…but, the realist inside me asks, just how do you cut the grass and keep the place so tidy?

  7. Love that long exposure shot – it’s almost as if the level of abstraction increases as you look through the frame…

  8. What a fine set of images you have there! Beautiful 🙂

  9. rjllane says:

    A beautiful, tranquil and spacious garden. The red path and bridge are my favorites – the former because of the banked bends (I’ve never seen anything like them in a garden), and the latter because it is in the form of a highly arched Chinese / Japanes “Moon” bridge (a very appropriate item to have in a Graden of Cosmic Speculation).

    🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

    • Thanks Richard – the place is full of astrophysical references; it was like walking through one of my textbooks (I’m a cosmologist by training, in another life…)

  10. Arnold says:

    What a beautiful place to spend the day or atleast part of one. The shapes are enchanting and replete with aw.


  1. […] the open. I had a sense of deja vu walking through here – the forms are oddly reminiscent of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation but without the massive earthworks, or the underlying cosmological references. Still, as a respite […]

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