Photographs of Chicago Gardens
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
Temkin's camera lens captures the lushness and vibrancy of these backyard gardens, roving over the diverse natural and artificial elements contained in each. His images chronicle how gardens are safe havens for these city dwellers, places where they can read, meditate, relax, and enjoy the experience of working with the soil and its fruits. Temkin notes, "The small gardens have bits and pieces of the person who owns them; found objects that are dear to them, keepsakes, statues, and personal items that reveal the person behind it."
The motto of the city of Chicago is "Urbs in horto," a Latin phrase meaning "city in a garden." Temkin's compelling photographs reveal the flip side of the motto—"garden in a city"—as Private Places unearths the richly sensual world of the natural tucked away behind the clustered town houses and brick edifices of Chicago's residential neighborhoods.
“By focusing his camera on backyard gardens, Brad Temkin has captured something poignant and wonderful about the human urge to be at harmony with nature, even in the most urban of circumstances.”
“Temkin’s lush photographs are both documentary and visionary. . . Temkin’s photographs of these private spaces reveal the artist’s personal truth, a world of heightened color and expressive composition that contains both calming sanctuaries and overripe urban Edens.”
“What is breathtaking here is how he has employed his wondrous color palette upon the intricacies of space, volume, line, and detail that individual gardeners have brought to their particular city spaces. His final compositions are equally celebratory of nature and revealing of this vigorously independent humanity. . . Thomas Moore once remarked upon how the 'soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.' True enough, but how easily we fail to see this simple majesty as we hurry along on our separate ways. It takes an artist of Temkin’s talent and insight to reveal this transcendent beauty that remains to be discovered in the eternal within us all.”---Roy Flukinger, Research Curator of Photography, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin
“Brad Temkin’s gardens are for people like me. These are not spaces that emulate the great Kew Gardens in London, or Le Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris. These are personal spaces that have been cultivated with lots of spare time and loving attention. In Private Places the message is clear: the varied plots welcome us, as those gardens were planted and tended by their owners, not by a landscaping crew.”
Index of Plates
About the Author and the Essayist