This morning I went to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens to photograph it for a newsletter I am working on for my typography class. Last week I was supposed to photograph it but I did not have enough time so I only got a preview from the outside. I was impressed just looking from the streets, but walking through it was a different story.
The Magic Gardens were created by Isaiah Zagar. He creates mosaics out of broken glass, recycled bottles, bicycle wheels, and more. His mosaics tell a story. Different pieces can be found all over South Street, but his biggest piece is the Magic Gardens. When I went through the door, I was taken aback. One man completed this. It was so intricate. If you looked closely on some of the bottles, there was sand plastered on. The way the sun reflected off the pieces brought even more beauty to piece. I really loved how I could walk through it and be inside it. The ground, the wall, the ceiling, the stairs, the doorways– they were all part of the mosaic. I am used to going to museums and looking at a piece but never before have I existed within a piece. He created a whole environment by hand. Each part had its on meaning. Everything was constructed in a particular way. You could see his imagination in how he presented each part. Even the lighting fixture towards the back was created from recycled material.
I have extreme appreciation for finding beauty in the broken, decayed, and destroyed. When I photograph, I typically find things that most people would consider to be useless and I format them in a way to highlight its beauty or its purpose. Seeing a huge compilation of this idea was very special to me.
Visiting the Magic Gardens does make me very interested in how this idea came to be. I will do my research in order to find out.