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Hermosa Park 2014: Daily snapshots of pocket park help La Jolla resident overcome grief

After her photographic project was complete, Sandie Linn compiled her images into collaged slides and posted them on youtube.com
After her photographic project was complete, Sandie Linn compiled her images into collaged slides and posted them on youtube.com

Following a year of sadness, La Jolla resident Sandie Linn decided to make 2014 a year of beauty. To help cope with a series of personal losses and pull herself out from a deep

depression, Linn embarked on a photographic art project that involved taking images at La Jolla Hermosa Park in Bird Rock every day for a year.

She converted the photos into slides and compiled them into a four-and-a-half-minute video that she posted to youtube.com on Dec. 31, 2014. The video can be found by searching for “365 Days of Activity in La Jolla Hermosa Park” or clicking here

Therapeutic and purposeful, Linn said La Jolla Hermosa Park holds a special place for her, and she wanted to document its “awe-inspiring” beauty.

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La Jolla resident Sandie Linn at La Jolla Hermosa Park, the subject of a year-long art project.
La Jolla resident Sandie Linn at La Jolla Hermosa Park, the subject of a year-long art project.

“There was a sadness that wasn’t going away and I thought I had to do something beautiful every day. To me, the ocean is beauty, and it’s different every day,” Linn said. “I enjoyed taking these pictures and seeing how the ocean was changing and seeing what people do in the park.”

Her depression started after her father, San Diego resident and poet Jack Greenstein passed away in late 2012.

“In January (2013) I got really sick and I didn’t understand that my body was breaking along with my heart,” she said. “For eight months, I was in this horrible pit. My doctors gave me lots of antidepressants ... that works for some people, but was not working for me.”

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In March 2013, her son Joe got a “great and wonderful” job offer in San Francisco, so he had to move away. Although thrilled for his new opportunity, she said she felt a deep loss with her son’s departure.

Already petite, Linn began losing weight, and at one point dropped to 87 pounds. As such, she lost two more important parts of her life: her daily running habit and her teaching job.

“I couldn’t run with the weight loss and the changes my body was going through,” she said. “And I was so ill I couldn’t perform and do my students justice — and they were my life — so I felt even worse.”

The English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher of 40 years spent much of her day confined in her home.

“I needed a purpose and I needed a reason to get up and get out of the house,” she said. “And that park is a special place ... I always call it my park.” Linn noted that when she and her husband, Dan, renewed their wedding vows a few years ago, they did so at La Jolla Hermosa Park.

So she started walking again, worked her way up to running, and resumed her daily runs in the park and in the neighborhood. With a small camera strapped to her wrist, she would take photos of the park each day. “I always told my students ‘you don’t

need a lot of English to convey what you want to say if you have great images,’ because I think images are really powerful,” she said of her media of choice. With 365 days of photos completed and posted for the world to see, Linn said she is doing great today. “The project changed everything for me,” she said.


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