Author Archives: Kathryn Dictus

Photo Series “Noct Angeles”

Image Credit: Tom Blachford via Cool Hunting

Taken in any other city, Tom Blachford‘s photographs of Los Angeles would be utterly unremarkable. They portray such ordinary things as empty residential street corners, puddles in alleyways and glowing back porch lights. Devoid of people, motionless and eerie, these photos capture one of the more image-conscious places in America in a stark but not unflattering new way.

Setting out to shoot LA without any of the cliches, Blachford found that his intention to shoot “day for night” was undermined  by a rainy forecast. His prior series “Midnight Modern” was shot using the opposite technique, with moonlight masquerading as day time, but this too was nixed due to LA’s extreme light pollution, which gives the sky a chronic glow. In the end, Blachford found that the technique of simply shooting in the rain at night produced better results than he could have anticipated.

Source: Cool Hunting

Focus on Landscape Architecture: Courses beyond Curriculum

Entering into the field of landscape architecture, one must love to learn, since it is an inherent part of a discipline that pulls from an array of knowledge bases, including ecology, art, history, sociology, architecture…the list goes on. Fortunately, there is no shortage in the Austin community of places to supplement your education:

  1. The Contemporary Austin Art School
    The Contemporary Austin is an art museum that has locations both downtown and on the lake on the west side of Austin. The Art School offers adult classes in the spring and summer for many fine arts topics, including drawing, painting and photography.
  2. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
    Part of the UT School of Architecture, the Wildflower Center is located south of Slaughter Lane in Austin. Here, you can take a variety of classes from nature-loving experts, such as watercoloring, plant identification and botanical illustration. They have single-day workshops as well as courses offered in multi-week sessions. Refer to their calendar, as events happen daily, and remember that UT students, faculty and staff get free admission to the Center!
  3. The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes
    If you want to learn Adobe software, interior design, native plant gardening or anything in between, Informal Classes offers an array of non-credit programming to compliment your semesters. Each course is different in its time requirements, location and fees, so be sure to browse the catalog to find your course.

Source: The Contemporary Austin, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes

Focus on Landscape Architecture: UT Austin Herbarium

The Plant Resources Center (PRC) at The University of Texas at Austin is hidden in plain sight: it occupies eight floors of the iconic UT Tower with over one million plant specimens. These specimens belong to both the University of Texas Herbarium (TEX), which was started in the 1890s, and the Lundell Herbarium (LL), the formerly private collection of Cyrus Lundell, which was added to the PRC in the 1970s-80s.

An herbarium is a library of dried plants. The specimens, collected from Texas, Mexico and other parts of the world, are dehydrated and pressed onto cardstock and labeled with their relevant information, including date collected and species name. These specimens provide a snapshot of a particular species’ morphology and taxonomy at a particular time and place on Earth. Many of UT’s specimens are unique in the world.

You can access the PRC online through a searchable database, or visit the collection in person.

The PRC and associated herbaria are located in the Main Building, Room 127. Hours are 8-11:30 am and 12:30-5 pm Monday-Friday. Please call in advance at 512-471-5904.

Sources: UT Department of Integrative Biology and JSTOR Global Plants

Focus on Landscape Architecture: Global Plants Database

Part of the online research and academic platform JSTOR, the Global Plants database allows access to nearly three million images dedicated to plants. Containing digitized plant specimens, paintings, photographs, diaries and other materials from universities, herbaria and private collectors around the world, Global Plants is a resource for anyone conducting botanical-related research or design. Whether you’re interested in the history of a plant, its uses in human culture, or its morphological characteristics, Global Plants provides a searchable database for you to access primary sources related to your query. You must have access to JSTOR, either through the University of Texas Libraries or through your own subscription to be able to use the Global Plants database.

One of the partners and contributors to the Global Plants database is The Plant Resources Center at The University of Texas at Austin, which will be featured later this week on Deep Focus

Source: JSTOR and Global Plants

Focus on Landscape Architecture: “Leaning into the Wind”

Image Credit: Thomas Riedelscheimer/Magnolia Pictures via NYTimes

In a follow-up to their 2001 documentary “Rivers and Tides,” artist Andy Goldsworthy and director Thomas Riedelsheimer again investigate and explore natural processes and humans’ place within them. The resulting film, “Leaning into the Wind,” showcases Goldsworthy’s fascination with time and its effect on his art. As a land artist, Goldsworthy operates at the scale of the landscape and uses media from his surroundings, such as stones and leaves, to create his works.

The film was an Official Selection of the San Francisco Film Festival, where it premiered in 2017. It is currently showing at the Austin Film Society through April 19, 2018. Tickets and showtimes can be found here.

Sources:, Austin Film Society

Focus on Landscape Architecture

Image Credit: ASLA #WLAM2018

April is World Landscape Architecture Month. Each year, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) celebrates the profession of landscape architecture through direct outreach to the public. The goal is to strengthen the everyday recognition of the designed spaces that surround us. This outreach includes a robust social media campaign, largely driven by Instagram and Tagboard.

This year, the ASLA Instagram account will feature one student ASLA chapter per day. Follow along to see how other schools are training the next generation of design thinkers and leaders. The University of Texas at Austin’s graduate Landscape Architecture program will be showcased on Monday, April 16.

In the coming weeks, Deep Focus will be highlighting landscape architecture resources at The University of Texas, in the Austin community, and beyond.

Source: ASLA