GardenAsCreativeSourceMarch 22 (only), 2015 – The Garden as Creative Source – An intensive PhotoBotanic symposium at University of California Botanical Garden with Saxon Holt, Allan Mandell, and David Perry.  Registration $325.

Gardens are playgrounds of creativity.  From design and plant choices to contemplation and expressions of beauty, a garden reveals many things to those who look.  Join three master garden photographers who have spent their careers looking at gardens and find inspiration for your own creative work in the wonderful gardens at Berkeley Botanical Garden.

In this intensive workshop each photographer will lay out creative themes and a point of view for interpreting gardens as artistic inspiration.  These themes will become the focus for the hands on workshop where students will open up to their own creative sources.

Each of us has chosen photography as the primary medium to express our ideas as creative artists, and each of us has chosen gardens as the place we go to find our imagery.  We continually return to discover something new, to expand our visual world, to engage in our art-form, to re-charge and to grow.  The garden is our creative source, and it is our studio.  This presentation will offer 3 inspiring perspectives on the idea of creating photographic art within the realm of the garden.

After an early morning tour as a group, with each photographer pointing out different ways to see, there will be a light breakfast provided, and the workshop will be split into three groups for individual workshops rotating with the three instructors.  After the two morning workshops the group will convene in the beautiful Julia Morgan Hall for presentations by the photographers, box lunch with critiques and conversation before a final session turns the students loose with an assignment to find creative sources.


Saxon Holt has been photographing Bay Area gardens for 30 years and is the photographer of the EBMUD book Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Gardens and is the owner of  See his website for more credits and full biography.  His workshop theme is “The PhotoBotanic Extraction”, botanic illustrations of plants in the garden.


Artist Statement:  “Plants will speak to us if we let them.  They can open a conversation with Nature. In gardens, those special places where plants are combined and nurtured for our human pleasure, a dialogue awaits. Slow down and look.  Find something to say.”


Allan Mandell has over 20 years as a freelance garden photographer with work published in magazines and books world-wide, and is now concentrating on his artwork and leading seasonal tours to the gardens of Kyoto, Japan.  Check his website for more details.  His workshop theme is ‘Seeing What Else They Are’

Allan Mandell - Gosho-tofu

Artist Statement: Minor White is quoted as saying “One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.”  My interest lies in exploring ‘what else they are’ and how to move toward this elusive goal photographing flowers and gardens.  For this workshop the emphasis will be entirely on seeing, composition, and the practice of photography as an art form. 


David Perry. Avid gardener and working photographer since his teens, David Perry has only been photographing gardens professionally for six years, but he brings skills garnered through decades of assignments and a unique storyteller’s eye to each new botanical challenge, including four cover features for Fine Gardening in the past two years. His workshop theme: “Telling Better Stories”.


Artist Statement:  Why photograph mere nouns and verbs when the world that truly enchants and takes our breath away is about texture and color, mood, the spaces between things and delicious, drizzled light? These are to photographs what adverbs, metaphors and prepositions are to literature. Certainly nouns are essential, but they have no magic without adjectives. Capture magic. Tell better stories.


March 21, 2015 –The Garden as Creative Source – University of California Botanical Garden. Registration $325.