Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781930066410 Published November 2005

Private Places

Photographs of Chicago Gardens

Brad Temkin

Private Places

Brad Temkin

Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press

With an Introduction by Rod Slemmons
96 pages | 52 color plates | 11-1/4 x 9-3/4 | © 2005
Published in association with Columbia College Chicago
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781930066410 Published November 2005
"A garden has this advantage, that it makes it indifferent where you live. A well-laid garden makes the face of the country of no account; let that be low or high, grand or mean, you have made a beautiful abode worthy of man." Thousands of Chicagoans have taken Ralph Waldo Emerson's words to heart, and they have shared their "beautiful abodes" with photographer Brad Temkin. His Private Places offers an intimate glimpse into the personal gardens of Chicago residents, exploring how they carved out these quiet spaces of flora and greenery in the cityscape of concrete and brick.

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.
Introduction by Rod Slemmons
The Plates
Index of Plates
About the Author and the Essayist
Review Quotes
Andy Grundberg, curator of photography, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

“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.”

Barbara Tannenbaum, Head Curator, Akron Museum of Art

“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.”

Roy Flukinger

“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

Linda Benedict-Jones, Silver Eye Photo

“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.”

The Photo Review
"Beautiful and evocative photographs."
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