Behind the Scenes, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

The Transformative Outer Peristyle

“I think there is something magical about shooting in natural light.” This week on Getty Voices, Tahnee Cracchiola shares her photographic encounters with wildlife on site at the Getty. Her first photographic love was architecture photography. Her journey shooting the Outer Peristyle led to some breathtaking architecture images at sunrise and sunset, as well as a  surprising visit from a new feathered friend!


During visiting hours the Getty Villa’s Outer Peristyle is bright, green and rich with sunshine. But it doesn’t always look so saturated with color. Sunrise and sunset are ideal times to shoot landscape and architecture to get the golds and oranges of the sun rising through the atmosphere, or the pink and purple hues of the sun setting. Even the most subtle shifts in light quality can change an image dramatically.

Sunrise over the Outer Peristyle

Sunset over the Outer Peristyle


The Outer Peristyle may appear quiet and calm in these photographs. I didn’t think anything more than insects and the occasional hummingbird visited the gardens, but on one early morning I was photographing the sycamore trees when a duck landed on the side of the reflecting pool! He was like a hotel visitor lounging by the hottub…swimming, drinking, perhaps waiting for his mate. The gardeners told me that he came here at the same time every morning with his mate. But she never came. It’s a mystery that remains unsolved.

Perhaps it was a tragic love story amidst the art and the gardens that we’ll never hear the ending of. We do know that this little guy is welcome to the Getty any day of the week.

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      I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourishing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages. I am not fond of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms. I have more pleasure in a snug farm-house than a watch-tower—and a troop of tidy, happy villages please me better than the finest banditti in the world.”

      Marianne looked with amazement at Edward, with compassion at her sister. Elinor only laughed.

      —Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, published on October 30, 1811

      Wooded Landscape by Paulus Lieder and Landscape with a Bare Tree and a Ploughman by Leon Bonvin, The J. Paul Getty Museum; Fantastic Oak Tree in the Woods, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe the Elder, The Getty Research Institute

      10/30/14

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