CLIVE NICHOLS – GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHER

The inside front and back covers of Clive Nichols' book show the twin borders at The Old Rectory near Reading in summer and in winter.

A post in which the garden photographer Clive Nichols shares his skills set me thinking, or to be more precise, set me salivating… And I decided to share my enjoyment on my blog. I’m definitely not paid to do so, and if this reads like advertising copy, forgive me: it is pure enthusiasm for the way in which he captures the beauty within beauty!

It is the going back to the gardens in other seasons that I really envy!

Clive Nichols is one of the UK’s most famous garden photographers; in fact one of the world’s great photographers in any genre I believe. He recently contributed a guest blog at Landscape Juice Network, a gardening network aimed mainly at UK Landscapers to which I belong. It is well worth exploring at http://www.landscapejuice.com/ You will find his contribution at http://www.landscapejuice.com/2009/12/how-to-make-the-best-use-of-winter-when-photographing-in-the-garden.html

Clive in fact has his own webpage, which I remember first finding years back whilst trawling the web. Visit it at http://www.clivenichols.co.uk   even if you do nothing other than stare at his home page for a few minutes – and I promise you there is much more to see!

Do you also find photographing white plants in a dark setting difficult? Nichols gives advice: I should read it again!

I remember reading about him in ‘The Garden’, the magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society even before  I discovered his book ‘Photographing Plants and Gardens’ (ISBN0715301357).  It is from this book that I have copied my pictures (“For what is the use of a blog without pictures?” said AliceAnastasia…) I have owned the book for nearly 15 years.  It is still my most important reference on garden photography!

The post on Landscape Juice is about winter garden photography - go take a look at it and drool...

Ask me who I most wish I were… I guess Clive Nichols comes pretty high on that list. Not only for his ability to find the perfect composition, the perfect lighting and then photograph it with the perfect camera – perfectly.  But because he spends so much of his time visiting perfect gardens!

The birth of my gardening instincts?

My grandmother was a keen painter before being the wife of a busy man and a mother took all her time. I inherited this painting, which I always loved most of all her paintings. When I was very young it defined the concept of ‘Cottage Gardening’ for me. I think she must have painted this between 1912 and 1919. It is the house where my grandfather grew up.  I have a dream to recreate this exact garden as a tribute in my garden… (besides the fact that I think it a lovely composition!)

My grandmother, Tienie Holloway's painting of the entrance garden to 'Magnolia'

My grandmother Tienie Holloway's painting of the entrance garden to 'Magnolia'.

I was very excited to discover this faded photograph of the house in the remnants of an album which had belonged to my grandparents; even more excited when photoshopping it to discover that the upper story of this Georgian-style house was of brick. It was not visible from the faded original! The house was towards the western end of Dorp (=Town) Street, the old main wagon road to Cape Town. Stellenbosch is a beautiful and historic  town, some 50km from Cape Town, but the house was demolished many years ago; today this area of town has little character.

A photo Irecently discovered in a faded album; the entrance from the opposite end.

A photo I recently discovered in a faded album; the entrance from the opposite end.