ASLA Oregon LANDbytes JULY 2012 Feature:
Photography and Design Meet at the University of Oregon
By Logan Bingle
Last month, I looked at the importance of practitioners as educators. Throughout the short history of landscape architecture, leaders in the field such as Olmsted and Sasaki have served as both professionals and teachers. This tradition has continued at the University of Oregon through the Landscape Architecture Department's adjunct faculty. This month, I continue to look at the University of Oregon's Landscape Architecture adjunct faculty by taking time to speak with Anne Godfrey. Anne works as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Oregon while also working as a Garden Designer and Photographer. The combination of these disciplines has given Anne a unique perspective on Landscape Architecture that constantly pushes her work and students to question their biases.
Anne's love for photography and nature began at an early age. Growing up in Wisconsin, she explored the woods around her house and took photos of maples and poplars. Anne continued to explore nature as a garden designer in Minnesota. She eventually left for California to attend an intensive pruning apprenticeship. While in California, she continued to pursue her interest in photography through night classes at the Berkeley Extension in Photography, Drafting and Garden Design.
For Anne, her twin interests came together as a masters student in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. While serving as a studio TA, Anne was given the chance to teach a class on the use of photography in the design process. In this class Anne, "developed methods that helped students understand how to be effective and critical photographers and to understand how the subjectivity of photography influences how we understand and value landscape spaces." This became the core of Anne's masters project, 10 Lessons in Landscape Photography, and went on to win an ASLA award in research.
Besides fusing her interests in photography and garden design, this photography class also convinced Anne that she wanted to pursue teaching as a profession. "I love teaching people how to draw, how to understand designed spaces and how to be healthy and productive designers in a creative and demanding field. I push my students to think critically and deeply from day one of their design education." After graduating, Anne began teaching at the University of Oregon and has continued up till the present. Currently, she teaches a mixture of studios and classes. This past year she taught the combined Undergraduate Introduction Studio and Hand Media Class. She also leads advanced studios focused on creating submissions for competitions. Besides studios, Anne continues to teach photography classes that critically explore landscapes and the cultural values that shape them through film.
Anne continues to work as a professional photographer and garden designer. As a photographer, Anne has continued to produce a large body of work. Her favorites are Phenomenal Landscape Experience and Searching for Water. In Phenomenal Landscape Experience, Anne drifts across a site, taking black and white analog photos of elements that invoke an emotional response. She then collages these photos together by developing several negatives on a single piece of photo paper. The results are ethereal landscape photographs, one negative merging into another. In Search for Water, Anne explored her attraction to the alien desert landscape of New Mexico. In this project she combined color digital photography and hand drawing to produce images that dived into the perception of the New Mexico landscape.
The adjunct faculty at the University of Oregon's Landscape Architecture program continues the tradition of landscape architecture professionals as teachers. Anne Godfrey's work as a photographer, garden designer and teacher exemplifies the strengths of this tradition. Through the combination of Anne's professional and academic work she has developed a unique perspective that constantly questions cultural assumptions about landscape and seeks new ideas that promise to invigorate the field of Landscape Architecture. Anne plans to continue to bring her perspective and ideas to her work and the University of Oregon into the future.