About Allan

(in front of Warhol flower prints, Naoshima art island, Spring 2017)

I am an artist inspired by gardens and the transformation that happens when you are in a garden.  The rational and the lyrical, the formal and the abstract, the known and the unknown – it all exists within a flower, and within the walls of a Zen garden.  A limitless world is accessible at any moment, and sitting quietly in a garden, feeling it, is one way to experience this.

Now if it is possible to fall in love with a city, for me, the city is Kyoto, Japan.  I felt the call long before I went there, and as soon as I arrived it was as if I had come home to something deeply familiar  –  the source of my inspiration.  This is where my in-depth training as a garden photographer began.

simplicity of line    –    harmony of proportion    –    equality of attention

These are the principal design elements I learned to see in the gardens of Kyoto.  During one year-long stay I was fortunate to work with garden designer Kinsaku Nakane and photographer Katsuhiko Mizuno, both masters of their art forms.  This launched me on a 20-year career as a professional garden photographer.  Through the years and the seasons I have returned, and the feeling remains constant  –  Kyoto is home to the highest aesthetic level on the planet.

A garden is a setting for an experience that takes place on multiple levels – simultaneously sensual, aesthetic and spiritual.  In fact, this experience is the intended result of a well-designed garden.  Can this be faithfully represented in an image ?  This is the goal of learning to see as a garden photographer.  But you don’t have to be a photographer.  Anyone can learn to see … and be transformed in the process of doing so.  And the gardens of Kyoto are the perfect setting for this to happen.


Ryogen-in garden, Daitokuji, Kyoto, Japan