Those who read illustrated garden books or magazines are familiar with the work of the talented photographer, Rob Cardillo. Over the years, we have come to appreciate his intimate images of flowers, fruit, foliage, ornamental shrubs, as well as close ups of beautiful garden compositions. Whether it’s inside a book or on a magazine cover, Rob’s photography is first class.
This month, fans of his work are in for a treat. The September/October 2011 edition of Garden Design, a recently revamped magazine, commissioned Rob to photograph the private retreat of Larry Weaner, a designer of natural-looking landscapes, with 200 meadows to his credit. Mr. Weaner’s property, a retreat situated outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is the subject of an article written by Bill Marken and titled Pasture Perfect: Wildflowers and meadows create a sustainable rural retreat. Some of the photo outtakes from that project appear in this post.
In this photo essay, Rob Cardillo’s images are pivotal because, with their publication, he raises the bar for his own work and moves from respected photographer to Impressionist artist. Some of his perspectives of the Weaner garden capture light as an element of garden design. In one picture it appears as strong rays of sun flooding down, and through, tree branches, while in another, it illuminates, from afar, tree foliage and grasses. In Mr. Cardillo's own words:That garden is especially gorgeous in the morning when the sun breaks through the summer fog.
The color blue features prominently in most of the photographs in this project. In one, it is found in an overcast sky. In another, it is revealed in multi hued patio stones. A colorful flower garden next to a water feature highlights the Caribbean blue that lines a pool, while a shade of violet-blue is picked up by the sun as it hits the shingles of a barn’s roof. In each instance, blue effectively sets off all of the other colors in the picture.
A double-page opening photograph captures the garden in overcast weather. The flowers on the right hand page trick the eye into thinking that the petals were brushed onto a painter’s canvas; there is a desire to reach out and touch them. The ethereal qualities of the image is captivating, while the directional lines of a brown fence tapering into the near background - but not the horizon - draws the viewer into the scene. The artist/photographer has created a masterpiece.
When I first came upon the double-page photo, I heard myself gasp with surprise and awe; I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. For over a week, the magazine remained open, to the left of my placemat on the kitchen table as I stared at it endlessly. Something kept drawing me to - and into - the picture. I wanted to step inside and lean against the brown fence and experience the hypnotic landscape just as the photographer discovered it - such is the talent of this artist.
I never expected to see pictures of this quality in a mass market garden magazine. Even the epitome of all horticultural publications, Gardens Illustrated, does not featured photography of this caliber. I hope that Mr. Weaner feels honored that the distinguished artist/photographer Rob Cardillo has forever preserved his magical retreat with such exquisite imagery