Plum Blossoms 2001/2006
In early spring, plum blossoms make a brief, heralded appearance in gardens all over the world. But the millions of people who flock to plum tree gardens to revel in their beauty go there to disappear from view. This is a garden and a custom designed to make the rest of the world wilt away for a while: The sound of nearby traffic and the clicking and beeping of tourists snapping pictures fades to nothing. We are no longer in the center of a metropolis, and going back to work seems more than a day away. It is a place to have a short, chilly picnic; to have a few drinks; to take pictures of friends and family; and to stretch the technical limits of one’s photography hobby. It’s also a place to do a little bit of nothing.
The individual plum blossom reveler becomes transparent, too. In fact, we go there to separate ourselves from the real world. Even though the next photographer may be only one tree over in this dense, man-made garden, there is no reason to be self-conscious. They don’t see you and their presence is nothing more than a breeze against your ear.
Blossoms seem to symbolize not only the separation between winter and spring, but between our normal lives and nature; and we have just a few short days to wander in that narrow space. This is an imaginary break from the density we live with everyday. Somehow this shock of color to the muted winter landscape, restores our normally challenged sense of personal space, temporarily transporting us from the real world for a respite. If we can’t be alone with nature in that mythical, poetic way we’ve always heard of but have never experienced, we’ll take this brief taste. And those people over there, they’ll take it, too.
Osaka 2001/Chicago 2006