David Wolf Photographs

With Nurturing Time, I take on the dual roles of cultivator and collector, gardener and photographer, to explore how we shape and control Nature even as we nurture it.  The choices confronting the gardener — what to grow, what to remove, what space to devote to which plants — are mirrored by the artist’s task to select, compose and transform.

As collaborator with Nature my working method bridges the usually disparate practices of documentary and staged photography.  For the first time in my work, I play an active part in creating what my subject will look like when I photograph it — rather than choosing strictly the moment and point of view of the picture.  Working with the near daily changes offered by the garden, I respond to what I find there at any given time by selecting and then composing what I’ve collected.  The resulting assemblages are a combination of happenstance and design.

This process can be as spontaneous as unearthing a clover plant in flower and photographing it in the minutes before it wilts and dies.  At other times I’ll collect and refrigerate blossoms — trying to prolong their life — or dry leaves and flowers, and then wait until I have the material needed for a particular composition I have in mind to photograph.

Combining arrangements in juxtaposition enables me to make associations and suggest contradictions.  Choosing where in the garden to photograph them provides a ground to explore the ever-present tension between the tended and the wild.  When is a flower a weed and a weed, a flower?  The difference between the two so often appears to be in the eye of the beholder.

The time of day and time of year create the context in which the many aspects of life’s cycle become visible.  The assembled flower boxes resonate with a range of emotion, reflecting our own experience of vitality and decay, abundance and loss.  Memory — time’s shadow — is present here, too, as events and lives are evoked and memorialized by these images.