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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Photo Essay: Gilgal Gardens at Night

by Scott Heffernan:

If you live near Salt Lake City, Utah, you've probably at least heard of the Gilgal Sculpture Garden (or Gilgal Gardens). If you've never been to this stunningly strange spectacle, I highly recommend a visit.

Growing up in the 1980s, we knew this place as Mormon Land. We didn't know much else. We'd go in the middle of the night and had to hop a fence to get to it. With our flashlights we could make out a sphinx with Joseph Smith's face, some creepy quotes, and a guy wearing brick pants. It felt very spooky, dangerous, and thrilling!

Gilgal was built by an eccentric Mormon Bishop named Thomas Child starting in 1945, purchased by a neighbor upon his death in 1963, then in the year 2000, sold to a group whose mission is to preserve and restore the garden. Gilgal Sculpture Garden is now a city park and open to the public.

I took these photographs in 2005. I shot the garden at night because I wanted to recreate the mystery and angst that surrounded it for me as a kid. Very long exposures brought out the peculiar purple color of the sky.

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Scott Heffernan is an artist, designer, and photographer living in Seattle. He works on the creative team at Archie McPhee, doing all manner of strange things. He grew up a child of the 80s in Salt Lake City and loves skateboarding, toys, and thrifting. He served a mission in England/Wales and has a degree in American Sign Language from the University of Utah. He has one wife and two kids. Twitter: @ScottHeffernan. Tumblr:
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: Scott Heffernan (used with permission).

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