Seasons — a journey through Auckland Botanic Gardens is a book that is perfect not just for active gardeners but for anyone who loves flowers, creative photography and the planet’s natural attributes. Indeed, it features stunning photographs of artworks created by Sally Tagg, accompanied by text from Jack Hobbs.
During her time as a visiting artist in 2008-2009, Sally became so intoxicated with the gardens that she continued to collect flowers and plants for the next three years in order to produce artworks depicting the beauty of nature, as seen through the eye of an artist.
“My practice is looking at the beauty of plants, using photography, looking at the patterns in nature and then recreating my own patterns,” said Sally at the book’s launch late last year.
A regular contributor to gardening and art publications worldwide, she has worked for 30 years as a photographer.
“Even though the medium of expression is photography, the creative component is the collection and arrangement of plant material,” she said. “Pieces can take weeks as plants and flowers are meticulously formed into fitting subjects, but as an artist I have never wanted to use photography in a traditional way.”
Accorded the rare privilege of taking cuttings from the gardens, Sally said she regularly encountered disapproval from visitors, which reflected the love they had for the living treasures of the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
“People could get very upset about the fact that I was taking cuttings. At the very least I received some dirty looks, but quite often I was also told off by members of the public!"
Jack allowed her the rare privilege of free access to the gardens so she could collect plant material for her artworks. He also contributed informative text to complete the marriage between the artist and the garden.
A respected plant expert, Jack, who is also a former president of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture, said the book was a reminder of the role plants play in our lives.
“In recent times we’ve been thinking of plants in terms of how we can save the planet, how they can feed us and how they can contribute through pharmaceuticals,” he said.
“I think we’ve lost sight of the fact that plants are a very important part of culture. They are beautiful, they are artworks and they really sustain more than our living; they sustain our lifestyle and even our souls. I think the book will impassion people to again appreciate the beauty of plants.”
Jack added that through her work in ‘Seasons’, Sally had reminded people of the art that is inherent in nature.