Opening to Paradise Video
In 2008, we made our first visit to a very special place called Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Located in Sarasota, Florida, this six-acre preserve sits right on an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico and contains a wonderland of semi-tropical plants and trees. Through a combination of intention and serendipity, the staff in charge of art shows there welcomed our idea of making a whole series of custom images from the foliage of Selby Gardens. By the time we had visited a few times to photograph and worked intensively at home, we ended up with 38 images that encode the beauty and energy of these Gardens.
All these images were displayed at Selby's Museum of Botany and the Arts in Sept.-Dec. 2009. We called this show "Visions of Selby: Inspirations from a Botanical Treasury." And the Gardens are indeed a treasury--they house myriad species of epiphyte plants (the air-growing species that includes orchids of all varieties) as well as exotic trees from many countries.
People from all over the world visit Selby and see their art shows. It was really fun to read comments left by guests who had viewed our show. One of the unique forms of images we made for this series we called "Botanical Allies". These images are created when we take half of a photograph of a single flower or tree and double it to create a symmetrical shape. We look for photos that have "eye-like" features, because our goal is to create faces from the growing things. We do this because it encourages our human minds to recognize the living nature of plants. And, even more, it helps us to connect with the spirit of the plants so that we can appreciate that plants are our allies in preserving a viable Earth environment. Fig Tree Ally Bell & Todd
Here's an excerpt from a statement we displayed with these Botanical Allies images at the show. "Plants have always been essential allies to humanity. The oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, the medicines we take, all have their roots in the botanical domain.
It is so easy, though, in a world of asphalt and glass, to lose track of this deep relationship. Places like Selby Gardens provide not just a refuge, but also a meeting ground between the beings of human and botanical persuasion... You will note that the Allies have different personalities. Some are cheerful, some are bold. They are all here to open us to the healing gifts that come through the world of growing things."
Below you will find a link to a video that showcases many of these images. We call the show "Opening to Paradise" in honor of an image in this series that depicts a portal into a magical domain of lush, healing blessings. Opening to Paradise video
May we deepen our collaboration with the vibrant botanical allies and with Gaia, our common mother-source.
Bonnie and David
P.S. We have the good fortune to be paying another visit to Selby Botanical Gardens next week, so new photo-resources will be gathered from this seaside Eden!