Maria & Maurice Hood: Where are the best places to photograph people?

Maria and Maurice Hood

This photograph of Maria and Maurice Hood was created at the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in Bishopville. When you arrive, you discover it is Pearl’s home on a fairly typical suburban street of a small town in South Carolina. If he’s at home, Pearl will come outside and tell you stories as amazing as his shaped trees. Media from around the country have featured him and his garden, including National Geographic (Oct 24, 2014); New York Times (March 10, 2005); and The Martha Stewart Show (2010).

When we arrived, I walked around looking for places to pose Maria and Maurice in front of interesting designs. I needed good lighting and a “clean” background. “Clean” means that there are no homes, telephone wires, or other trees in the background. The best position was to photograph down on an area with abstract shapes of greenery. It was my good fortune that Pearl has a tall ladder which he offered to let me use. The (elderly) gentleman even insisted on helping me move the ladder into place. Then I climbed to the top of the ladder and used a 20mm lens to get a wide view.

The artist of inspiration, one of María’s favorites, is Henri Magritte, a Belgian surrealist. 

Maurice was Principal Violist of the South Carolina Philharmonic and Maria used to play the French horn. The high vantage point, “surreal” garden, and instruments made the portrait possible.

To find great locations, you can drive around, search on Google Earth, or ask your friends. I’ll be doing all of the above when I move to St. Petersburg. If you know of an interesting location in the Tampa Bay area, please contact me!!!!