Explore "Down Garden Paths" exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography

Video Tour

Exhibition tour for Down Garden Paths at the Griffin Museum of Photography

Craig J. Barber, Joan Lobis Brown, Jimmy Fike, Ivana Damien George, Emily Hamilton Laux, Marcy Palmer, Paula Riff, and Vaughn Sills

Working the Land – Craig J. Barber


“There are still those who continue a close relationship with the land and all it has to offer:  hunters, farmers, woodsmen, gardeners, foragers.  I want to recognize and honor these individuals and their commitment, in a series of portraits in their working environments.

I have chosen to work with the tintype process for it’s feeling of timelessness and it’s aesthetic connection to an era when we were all closer to the land."

Phantasmagorical – Joan Lobis Brown


“…I purposely crafted a world in which reality is overtaken by imagination. In my world, birds perch on coffee cups and fly free around my kitchen. Human beings, still central and recognizable in my fantasyland, take on new shapes and dimensions, sometimes friendly, sometimes menacing. The boundary between the objects in the home and the flora and fauna in the garden is blurred.  This is a world where magic emerges from the images, where it is a joy to observe, live and design.…“Phantasmagorical” represents the dichotomy of what we as humans present to the world, and what we as individuals keep hidden internally– that which is our own unique true selves….”

J.W. Fike’s Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of the North American Continent

— Jimmy Fike


“Since 2008, I’ve been creating a photographic archive depicting America’s rich trove of wild edible flora…. I’ve amassed a collection of over one hundred and forty specimens. The work sprung from disillusionment with the position of landscape photography in relation to pressing threats like climate change, extinction, pollution and the loss of commons….

This work offers a dose of something palliative for the ills of alienation – a sense of connection to a certain place, a certain ecosystem, a type of belonging.”


Ivana Damien George


“I am passionate about eating delicious food and living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.  One of the ways I reduce my carbon footprint is by eating a predominately plant based diet and growing my own produce. I share my passions for sustainable living and food through my images in my series Sustain

My color images deliver a sense of immediacy and sensual expression of the food I grow. Backyard organic vegetable gardening is something that anyone can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint and increase your health by eating more fresh, nutritious organic produce. The color combined with my use lighting, framing and posing to creatively expresses the beauty, unique variety and deliciousness of the fruits and vegetables that can be grown in a small urban space.”

Invasives:  Beauty Versus Beauty – Emily Hamilton Laux

Beauty Versus Beauty addresses issues of biodiversity, the complex relationships of native and invasive species within ecosystems, and individual notions of beauty in nature.


Presented as still lifes and using vintage jars and water to isolate species, this series considers the co-mingled, changing relationships of plants that grow in our backyards, along the edges of fields and parking lots, as well flora that are cultivated for their beauty.

Like the notorious kudzu blanketing rural and urban landscapes in the Deep South, invasive species are often considered beautiful and not acknowledged until they are out of control. Invasive species pose a serious threat to biodiversity; scientists estimate that between 25 and 50 percent of America’s native plants are threatened by invasive species. Yet the issue of biodiversity is an increasingly complex conversation; it is no longer a simplistic “natives versus invasives” paradigm…”

Flora – Marcy Palmer


“Under the umbrella of the Griffin Museum’s overarching topic of “Down Garden Paths,” Palmer’s Flora is an exploration of beauty as an antidote for personal and political crisis. Writer and philosopher John O’Donohue states, “I think that beauty is not a luxury, but that it ennobles the heart and reminds us of the infinity that is within us.”  That idea resonates with me and inspired this project.  The images are made from plants and flowers gathered during walks in my neighborhood or in my backyard, which are photographed, printed on vellum, and hand applied gold leaf, varnish, and wax to the prints to create the final images.  The project takes reference from Anna Atkins’s botanical studies as well as surrealist photographers who manipulated imagery and materials.

The Flora images are archival inkjet vellum prints with either 24k or 18k gold leaf applied to the back of the print by hand.  The print is then varnished with an archival UV varnish and a wax is applied to the front of the prints.”

Shibui – Paula Riff


“The Japanese word “shibui” refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle and unobtrusive beauty and it is this concept that reflects the spirit of this series, Shibui. An object of art that employs these characteristics may at first appear to be simple, but upon closer inspection the subtle details and textures balance that simplicity with a rich complexity.

I create camera-less images using the processes of cyanotype and color gum bichromate as a way to physically interact with the natural world as an artist. I cut the paper at various intersections which allows me to enter the conversation with the images in a very intimate way. My intention is to strip away as much as possible so that I am able to focus more on the elements of design and consider elements of nature in a different way.”

Places For The Spirit, Traditional African American Gardens – Vaughn Sills

“These photographs document a tradition that is a way of using the land that is both historically significant and aesthetically resonant. Scholars (including my friend Sara Glickman) have studied these gardens and traced many of their traits to West Africa, pointing out similar uses of the land and learning that slaves brought with them not only plant seeds and agricultural skills, but a landscape aesthetic still in evidence today. The gardens, however, are disappearing – or evolving – as we become less rural and more assimilated. There is a distinct influence among ethnic groups, so that features of traditional African American yards are now seen in white gardens and vice-versa. As people move into cities, they tend to assimilate more with the dominant culture, which in our society encourages the use of store-bought planters, “garden furniture,” and even a particular style of landscape design that places one clearly in the middle class…


These gardens speak a certain language – a language, I’m convinced, that is about the earth, about beauty, and about spirit… The way the vocabulary is put together is based on tradition, custom, function, and each gardener’s individual creativity — yielding a distinctive style. This style becomes the structure of the language; this structure is aesthetic; and this aesthetic, to my eye, is beauty…”

Source: The Griffin Museum of Photography, “Down Garden Paths”