Gardens and Architecture

What to see at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa outdoors

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Sniff Your Way through the Getty Gardens

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A smell tour of the Getty Center’s flora. More»

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Miniature Getty Center Opens in Philadelphia

Landscape architect's rendering of the Getty Center display at the Philadelphia Flower Show
Landscape architect's rendering of the mini-Getty. Courtesy of Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build

A landscape designer creates a mini-Getty Center in flowers. More»

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New Audio Tour Celebrates the Getty Villa’s 40th Anniversary

Doorway to the Outer Peristyle of the Getty Villa / reception area

Did you know Romans kept eels as pets and bought them…jewelry? Come stroll the grounds of this 40-year-young institution to hear that story and a few others besides. More»

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September in the Central Garden

Echinacea in the Central Garden at the Getty Center, September 2013

Flowers and foliage give off a feverish display as summer winds, ever so slowly, to a close. More»

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Edible Gardening in the Renaissance

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What grew in the Renaissance garden? Many familiar favorites, from cabbage to strawberries. More»

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Also posted in Architecture and Design, Art, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Trust, Voices

Our L.A., Mapped

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What place says “L.A.” to you? What’s your favorite building, corner, or monument? What is your L.A.? More»

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Hi! I’m an L.A. Native.

Cream cups (Platystemon californicus)

They say L.A. has no center; they say it’s a desert. We native Angelenos know that’s not true—and not just when it comes to architecture, either. More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

The Transformative Outer Peristyle

Sunrise Outer Peristyle

Stunning by day, by night, at sunrise and at sunset, the Outer Peristyle at the Getty Villa is also a backdrop from a dramatic duck love story. More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

The Waltz of the Hummingbirds

Tahnee Cracchiola © 2009 J. Paul Getty Trust

Waltzing hummingbirds captured in a fleeting second by accident. Nature’s surprises sure do deliver beautiful photographs. More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

Getty Voices: Getty Gone Wild

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Photographic encounters with deer, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife of the Getty.
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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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