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Nov 2, 2011: David C. Lam Asian Garden

David C. Lam Asian Garden

The intense low sun of a late autumn afternoon in combination with a breeze off the Salish Sea helped to produce this image a couple days ago in the David C. Lam Asian Garden.

While taking the photograph, I was only reacting to the sights and experiences of bright leaves and moving branches. In the back of my mind, I would have had some familiarity with similar techniques or approaches used by other photographers under the same conditions. However, thinking about the photograph a bit more, it could also complement a number of stories about the David C. Lam Asian Garden:

  • - the combination of coastal woodland plants (represented by the Douglas-fir) and cultivated plants of Asian origin (the Japanese maples in the background)
  • - along the same lines, one could also interpret that the solidity of the Douglas-fir represents what was here and what will be here in this place (it is timeless), whereas the maples are fleeting and less solid, less permanent
  • - the maples remind of flames, an allusion to the fire that threatened the Asian Garden earlier this year
  • - the charred scars of stumps and trunks of the few remaining original-growth native trees in the Asian Garden speak to the burning of the site in the early 20th century after it had been effectively clearcut -- had colour film existed then, it is not difficult to imagine a similar photograph being taken a century ago, but with real flames

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604.822.3928
Fax: 604.822.2016 Email: garden.info@ubc.ca

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