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Frederick Law Olmsted - "The Genius of a Place"

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) began in 1857 with the design of Central Park in New York City and went on to become the founder of American landscape architecture.  The thousands of landscapes he designed include many of the world’s most important parks such as Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the Emerald Necklace in Boston, the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Mount Royal in Montreal, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the White House and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  Unlike mere decorative gardening, Olmsted’s unique designs reveal “the genius of a place” by respecting the true character of the natural landscape.

While many have seen and experienced Olmsted’s parks, not many are familiar with Fairsted, his home office in suburban Boston.  With Fairsted, Olmsted established the world's first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design.  During the next century, his sons and successors perpetuated Olmsted's design ideals, philosophy and influence.

To celebrate its 2016 Centennial, the U.S. National Park Service commissioned me and granted full access at Fairsted to create the first artistic photographic collection of Olmsted’s office.  I drew inspiration from Olmsted’s “genius of a place” philosophy and created photographs that respect the character of the environment in which Olmsted and his team worked.  So no flashes were used to light the rooms, no Photoshop manipulations or special effects were employed and no images were cropped. 


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