About the photographer: Joseph De Sciose (http://www.jdesciose.com/ ) was a senior photographer at Southern Living Magazine for more than five years shooting gardens, travel and lifestyle stories. He won the Garden Globe Award for “Best Photography for a Garden Book” by the Garden Writers’ Association for the Flower Gardener’s Bible. His work has also been featured in several additional books.
JOSEPH De SCIOSE
When I started my work in garden and horticulture photography more than 20 years ago, I didn’t know the difference between a hydrangea and a hibiscus. By now I’ve shot every kind of landscape I could find, from expertly-designed gardens and landscapes to wild glades, seascapes and rock formations. I’ve concentrated on color since the 1990s, training my eye for hue and shade, tone and translucence. Before digital, I simply didn’t have the temperament for the long hours of darkroom work.
And yet, when I began to make photographs for this project, I knew the pictures had to be black and white. The structure of the boulder fields moved me first. The massive stones had a monumentalism that I believed only black and white pictures could capture. Next, the textures of the sandstone glade: striated light and dark, almost otherworldly, seemed to insist on stark composition. Every surface, shimmering or dull combined with the variety of trees, lichen, moss and wild flowers demanded scrutiny. The graphic juxtapositions of rock and plant life are overwhelming and inspirational.
In the 19th and early 20th century, photographers worked in black and white because they had to, but I had a choice. I decided that black and white photos were what Moss Rock deserved, perhaps even desired.
The 349-acre Moss Rock Preserve is a paradox. It is a quiet, wild place of great bio-diversity, but surrounded by suburban development. It is not a true wilderness, as the footprint of man is everywhere. There are magnificent hiking trails and footbridges, as well as graffiti art, litter and power lines.
Thank you to the Alabama Center for Architecture for making this presentation possible and to the City of Hoover for ensuring that The Moss Rock Preserve is available to the public.