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>> EXPOSURE 2013

Thomas Ladd
Sheep Pasture Gardens

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Thomas Ladd, Untitled from the series Sheep Pasture Gardens, Archival Inkjet Print on
cotton paper, 2012.

Artist Statement
The Sheep Pasture Gardens are community vegetable and flower gardens that are tended by people who live in or near North Easton, Massachusetts. The garden is walking distance from my home, and I began to take photographs there to get outside. I have been visiting the garden on a regular basis for over eight years. There, I can contemplate the landscape, reflect on the changing seasons, respond to the transitions in light, and admire the elegant structure of plants. I find the garden interesting all year round—when it is planned and cultivated, when it is fully alive, when it is harvested, and when it is dormant. Each gardener tends a plot (some meticulously, and some with less care) in a unique way, based on differing needs. During my visits, I have noticed that food is often left “unharvested” and rots. For some people, gardening is a therapeutic hobby rather than being essential for nutrition, and quite often they leave their plots uncared for and forgotten. At first, I found nature’s reclaiming of forgotten order, or good intentions, to be poetic. Yet, over time, my thoughts became more prosaic, and led me to question how gardens are used by the people who truly need them. Where does growing plants for food really count? My research led me to learn about poverty and “kitchen gardens” within the Andean communities of South America. Currently, I am working on two complementary bodies of work: Sheep Pasture Gardens and Cloud Forest Gardens. Each collection shows gardens serving a different purpose.

Artist Bio
Thomas Ladd is a photographer, graphic designer, and college professor who lives in North Easton, Massachusetts. Currently, he is engaged in five ongoing photographic projects. Two document places in the Northern Andes where poverty, culture, and the environment are in conflict. Three document places near his home, where he is making pictures of a community vegetable garden, winter landscapes, and recording observations made while taking walks. In addition to his photographic practice, Ladd is a freelance graphic designer who creates identities, websites, posters, and books. Ladd has received advanced degrees from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Design Department at the UMASS, Dartmouth, where he teaches graphic design and photography.