Laurie Blakeslee – 40 Year Garden
Archival pigment prints. 13”x19” open edition, $400
Artist Statement: (see images and bio below)
The garden is growth and change and that means loss as well as constant new treasures to make up for a few disasters.
— May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude, 1973
For more than four decades, my mother-in-law Fritz has been gardening the same plot of land (approximately an 1/8 acre) behind her home in Boise, Idaho. Her children say they can hardly believe she maintained such a huge garden when she worked full time. Despite their protests to scale back the ambitious planting, each year the garden seems to expand. In the tremendous heat of late summer, even Fritz will admit she is overwhelmed by the work. Fortunately, my partner Stephanie shares her mother’s love of gardening and works alongside her.
For Fritz, this vegetable garden not only provides food for her family (and her lucky neighbors), it also allows a space for meditation through the ritual of daily maintenance. It is clear that, as Fritz, now in her mid 80s, grows older, this garden provides a way to maintain her vitality.
With the series “40-Year Garden” I am photographing a garden in all its seasons of transformation and the beauty of Fritz with her resilience and determination.
Laurie is currently an Associate Professor of Art at BSU, where she teaches photography and coordinates the undergraduate Art Foundations program. She received a BFA from Boise State University with an emphasis in painting and an MFA in photography from the University of Arizona in Tucson.