Grounds for Sculpture
Grounds For Sculpture
Mari Parker, who shared her wonderful photographs of some of the sculptures in the slide show on this page, is not the only Digital Photo Academy workshop participant who raves about Grounds for Sculpture as a photographers paradise.
Grounds for Sculpture, in Hamilton, NJ, is the vision and creation of philanthropist/artist, Seward Johnson, and opened its doors in 1992. The locale is a serene and simultaneously surreal setting which offers an array of indoor and outdoor photo ops. Your DPA Instructor will demonstrate and supervise easy-to-learn techniques so you can render compelling photographs, using various composition strategies such as leading lines and Rule of Thirds to photograph whimsical as well as horrific statues along reflecting pools, surrounded by tranquil landscapes. Use a “Worm’s Eye,” view or Negative Space to heighten the gothic horror of a mythological figure buried in the ground, frantically struggling to free himself from the clutches of the earth. Point your lens toward one of the fountains or cascading streams to work the shutter speed priority, whether intent on capturing a crystal clear split second of the flowing water stopped still, or a velvety flow of water seen as a constant and never-ending journey.
There are indoor photo ops, with wonderful natural light, in the arboretum, where you can practice controlling your Aperture Priority usage to focus on a crimson flower in full bloom, accented effectively by blurring the background in an impressionistic style. There are other still life and detail images in the museum to contribute to a portfolio of powerful photographs fit for printing and display.
History of the land dates back to 1745 when King George II officially deeded the 42 acres which became a State Fair Ground. The identity of the property varies dramatically over the centuries and tells tales of many different purposes ranging from a bustling auto-race track that drew patronage from 50,000 members of the elite, to exhibitions of crafts and novelties, as well as barnyard animals.
At one time the grounds were booked by celebrities, politicians and protesters alike, to tell, perform or deliver an impassioned speech. The first woman presidential candidate, Belva Ann Bennet Lockwood drew a roaring crowd who protested and demanded women’s right to vote. Annie Oakley was there with Bill’s Wild West Show. So too, did the Grand Ole Opry make an appearance, as did Dick Clark and Bobby Vinton.
Grounds for Sculpture has been many things but today it is an ideal destination for the photographer who wants access to a full array of themes, from landscapes, to waterscapes, still lives, fountains, sculptures, flowers, indoors and outdoors.
Make sure to bring $20 for the entrance fee.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619