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New Image: The Gate is Open

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

I had had an idea for an image for some years: where a winding path would lead through overgrown, lush foliage. One day while on a walk not far from my home in Chicago, I saw this open gate with a winding path leading through overgrown, lush foliage. I took a photo with my phone, noted the address and went on my way. And then I more or less forgot all about it. Sometimes an obvious photo is not obvious at all, even when you've been imagining that very thing!

Months later I walked by the same location. The gate was again open and again I stared at the winding path. There were little to no flowers in the garden, and really that was the problem. I wanted a lush and colorful garden. 

Many months passed, again, when I found myself standing in front of this place. The gate was still open! Who leaves their gate open like this? ...all the time!? In a big city like Chicago! 

This time I started imagining how I could create the photo. I'd have to bring in lots of flowers for starters. But before all this, I would need to contact the home owners on the other side of the path. I couldn't even see the house from here. Since the owners with the gate permanently open were clearly kooks, I didn't want to risk walking through the path and getting shot. So I mailed a letter to the address, explaining that I was interested in taking a photo of their yard at night. Nothing strange here.

I had planned to go knocking on their door a couple of weeks after mailing the letter but there was no need because a week later the owners contacted me and were interested!

When I finally met the retired couple, they weren't kooks at all, but the most lovely husband and wife. They always left the gate open, they said, because they liked the feel of it. It was simply a friendly, welcoming neighborhood gesture. This was inspiring to say the least.

Soon after, I got to work, buying nearly every flower you see in the photo. Placing them and decorating their garden was not easy, but it was a labor of love. In order to keep everything looking fresh, the shoot was planned for that same evening. My wife Nikki was there with her indispensable help in getting exactly what I had imagined those years earlier.  

My original cell phone photo from the first time I saw the property, in 2020. Sometimes an obvious photo is not obvious at all.

I brought in nearly all the flowers you see in the photo to help create this little piece of paradise.

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