Spring at the IMA has always provided one of the most spectacular opportunities for photographers to capture the natural beauty of our grounds and gardens, a respite for leisure, family activities, and the chance to supplement your portfolio to attract would be business prospects in a sagging economy.
The welcome mat is always out for all to participate in this annual rite of spring and fall, but if you have ever been a guest at a private wedding in the gardens, attended an event in the Nourish Café or Deer Zink Pavilion during peak shutterbug activity, you may not appreciate the migratory habits of local photographers during your special occasion.
Although the plumage and ritualistic mannerisms are interesting to witness, these moments cannot adequately compare to the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, or the great migrations of wildebeest and zebras of the Serengeti Plains.
A component of our mission is to serve the creative interests of our communities by fostering exploration of art, design and the natural environment, and that certainly implies photography, so the question remains: How do we welcome photographers, both amateur and professional to our horticultural oasis, and still maintain the decorum necessary for all to flourish without resorting to complete banishment of photographic exploration?
The answer is simple…it’s on you. Personal responsibility and professional etiquette should be your guide.
As Chief Photographer at the IMA, I consistently follow a general strategy when practicing my craft:
- Be very aware of your surroundings and take great care not to step on or in flower beds that have been diligently created by IMA Horticulture staff.
- Be mindful of the activities in this public space during your time here, and defer your photographic needs to those attending a private event.
- Be cognizant regarding the works of art on our grounds, as the individual artist maintains the legal rights to publish any image of their work in print or online. (We are contractually obligated to gain permission or pay a fee each time we utilize the LOVE or the numbers sculpture in our publications.)
- Be aware of the conservation and safety consequences related to the sculptures if you do not refrain from climbing or posing subjects on the works of art.
- Lastly, be prepared to be amazed by the natural beauty of our historic grounds and gardens and be inspired to create and post your images on the IMA Flickr site for all to enjoy.