Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 18) – Bamboo Forest, Longwood Gardens

18 February 2019


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Stackables.

Bamboo Forest, Longwood Gardens; Sally W. Donatello 2019 All Rights Reserved

Bamboo Forest, Longwood Gardens; Sally W. Donatello 2019 All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request. 


Bamboo has divergent and harmonious character; it conjures the light, the dark of any gathering. A single stalk can be aesthetic or utilitarian, edible or ground cover, controlled or invasive, statuesque or compost. But a grove of this stately plant has qualities that baffle, bringing thoughts of its broader genuine luscious qualities.

Decades ago the discovery of bamboo as a garden feature was a steppingstone for me: it riveted my dive into its uses as an ornament and a tool. One of my seasonal luxuries is to make sculptures that grace and graze cultivated and wild spaces, adding more of nature’s prominence to my visual universe.

Bamboo, green or black, has charisma that wields sway over my heart and soul. Maybe its the mirroring of Japanese simplicity, and also its ability to continual reinvent showiness, spectacular patina on the landscape, push and pull of the eye’s lens, gentleness, toughness, and quiet yet energetic presence.

Whether you are in America or somewhere else on this “timed” spinning globe, we are soaring through a pseudo-reality, where technology’s infiltration and political confusion/intrusion brings constant anxiety and speculation. Gardening has always been a way for me to embrace solitude. More recently it has offered escapism from a country and world that not only disappoints but raises emotions to levels unwanted and even at times unhealthy.

Photography also acts as solace for the outer layers of society’s delusions and illusions, helping me to envision what the world appears to be and what I wish others could and would see. That is, for them to open their minds beyond the obvious and recognize the greater good: nature and human nature as companions who need to embrace coexistence as a major solution.

In the Lens section once again I have imagined layer upon layer where nature and human nature are integrated. Today’s conditions continue to manifest themselves in lives lived and lives taken. The bamboo forest is quietude in a world of chaos and confusion.

What to do? What can be done? What is being done? What will be done?


British novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch (July 15, 1919–February 8, 1999) is an icon of the written word. Her poetic voice echoes from the twentieth century, moving through days and nights. One of my favorite quotes from her journals is: “For me philosophical problems are the problems of my own life.” Often she delved into how art is used to inform shifts in culture and its effects upon society.

Murdoch commented on technology as it cast its spell on the arts: “A technological society, quite automatically and without any malign intent, upsets the artist by taking over and transforming the idea of craft, and by endlessly reproducing objects which are not art objects but sometimes resemble them. Technology steals the artist’s public by inventing sub-artistic forms of entertainment and by offering a great counter interest and a rival way of grasping the world.”

One of her thoughts about art: “Great art is able to display and discuss the central area of our reality, our actual consciousness, in a more exact way than science or even philosophy can.”

She also wrote about the way dictators use words to influence their audience: “The quality of a civilisation depends upon its ability to discern and reveal truth, and this depends upon the scope and purity of its language. Any dictator attempts to degrade the language because this is a way to mystify. And many of the quasi-automatic operations of capitalist industrial society tend also toward mystification and the blunting of verbal precision.”


This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Gardens and Gardening, Mobile Photography, Nature, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 18) – Bamboo Forest, Longwood Gardens

  1. charlypriest says:

    I don’t know why but I love the black and white photos, I also like to learn about the photo, I will save it and read it later. Very interesting the little I have read. With more time more read more knowledge!

  2. I have always enjoyed spending time in big bamboo forest and this photo put right back into the forest – mentally.

  3. bluebrightly says:

    I like this B&W even more than the orchid that follows…but I’m a big bamboo fan, and it sure lends itself to this treatment. And again, I appreciate the narrative. Yes, lots of anxiety out there, and there’s nothing like gardening – or a bamboo grove – to soothe the troubled soul. I love your notion of photography’s qualities. Wonderful. 🙂

  4. Prior... says:

    Like your bamboo – and enjoyed reading about your layers – and then what Iris Murdoch said about the dictator was good but not sure I agree with her about the art and technology and society.

  5. Lens and Pen converged in total synchronicity with my thoughts and feelings, showing that what you wished, i.e. ‘envision what the world appears to be and what I wish others could and would see’, was made possible.
    The gorgeous bamboo brought me back to the time when I learned to develop film and created a similar effect. It felt much more creative and exciting than using current digital photo editors.
    Iris Murdoch has a point on how the technological society hurts art.
    In a world that seems to be in reverse mode and upside down, letting us in need of solitude to make sense or retract from the madness around us, your call to embrace coexistence is a breath of fresh air.

  6. Angeline M says:

    The photo when clicked on to enlarge made me feel as if I could walk in to this forest of bamboo and disappear in it. Lovely!

  7. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely artwork, Sally. Everything you say about bamboo is true, having recently spent much time wandering bamboo groves and features in Japan. And that last quote from Iris Murdoch rings so scarily true.

  8. pattimoed says:

    You find such Joy at Longwood! Lovely bamboo montage.

  9. Nice work, Sally. I like the top-to-bottom gradient effect of dark-to-light and detail-to-naught in the image. I can hear the stalks clicking and tapping each other in the wind.

  10. Su Leslie says:

    This is blogging at its best Sally. Thoughtful writing about things that really matter. Thank you for the Murdoch reference; I only know her from her fiction writing, though I was aware that she was primarily a philosopher.

  11. I like the photo very much, Sally. I found the thoughts about language very interesting as well. As we become more and more technology-oriented, I think language suffers along with ties to people. I think it’s something each of us has to find valuable enough to work at.


  12. Beutifully simple and simply beautiful!

  13. Tish Farrell says:

    “Any dictator attempts to degrade the language because this is a way to mystify. And many of the quasi-automatic operations of capitalist industrial society tend also toward mystification and the blunting of verbal precision” Spot on. Never did Iris Murdoch’s words ring so truly as now. But your bamboo forest, Sally, brings a real sense of solace and creative possibility.

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