Midnight in the Garden
by Anna Beeke


There is a garden in the city, an idyllic oasis set apart from the urban chaos by a wrought iron fence. If you pass it in the daytime, you might notice how nicely it has been curated and cared for it, how pretty it is, how much like paradise. But if you walk by at night and if you stop to peer through the bars and into the shadows, you will find that it has transformed into something magical. What you can see of the flora around the edge is lit by modern street lights and headlights and yet the space looks like something from a fairy tale, not a garden on Sixth Avenue.

Of course, in reality little has changed from midday to midnight except your perception. Humans have always had a complicated relationship with the night. Being vulnerable in the dark, we are fearful of it, even as we generate so much artificial light that we are losing sight of the stars. On the other hand, night is the time when the dream world cracks open our subconscious and makes anything seem possible. In our full imagination, the nocturnal world is one that is full of magic and mystery. Quite simply, the way we perceive the world changes when the sun goes down. These nighttime photos of city gardens are intended to be less about what we see exactly, and more about how we see; the mental shift that sparks our imagination at night.

Photographing the same garden over time captures the changing ecosystem from month to month, season to season; snowdrops, and daffodils making way for the hydrangeas and black-eyed Susans, the fecundity of late summer dissolving into the bareness of winter. Midnight in the Garden documents how the nature in a garden changes over time, as well as an exploration of the modified nature our psyches at night.


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