Time after Time in the Japanese Gardens

Photographer finds balance through a camera’s lens.

When one looks out at a tree in a home’s yard, the eye may not immediately recognize the changes that develop in a year’s time. The leaves may have turned, or new buds may be sprouting, but the core of the tree appears to essentially stand firm. Look again.

Christine Neff Kojetin, who holds a day job in marketing, visits one specific tree in the Japanese Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum throughout the year. “I photograph it every spring,” she says. “It’s my favorite tree in the garden.” The arboretum is an “oasis in the city,” she says.

For Neff Kojetin, the arboretum garden is a place to reflect on the passage of time. This tree in particular is gnarled, creating an interesting shape. “The buds pop in the spring, and pretty colors show in the fall. I enjoy watching plants in the garden change, which happens all the time,” she says.

Neff Kojetin has become more serious about her photography over the past 10 years, and she runs a side business to fulfill her passion. “Photography is a good creative outlet for me. It helps balance out the pressures of a nine-to-five,” she says. Like most photographers, the subjects of her camera vary from nature and landscapes to people and families, which she photographs for her business.

“My photography is an expression of what I love,” Neff Kojetin says. “I like thinking about the innate qualities of nature and capturing it.” Her lens looks beyond the area, and she traveled in January to Cuba, where fresh subject elements found themselves come into focus. This spring, she has more to look forward to capturing. “I’m excited to watch the world come back to life, show the colors of spring,” Neff Kojetin says.