These Stunning Images Will Make You Rethink Garden Photography

A new book chronicles over a century of the relationship between photographers and gardens

 

Gardens have been around for millennia, photography for far fewer years. But throughout the entire history of the camera, from film to digital, photographers have been shooting green spaces. It’s perhaps unsurprising, as gardens are quite the subject. A wide shot can give you a landscape, a close-up of a single blossom can be an abstraction, and a floral arrangement can provide a still life. A new book, The Photographer in the Garden ($50, Aperture and the George Eastman Museum), cowritten by Jamie M. Allen and Sarah Anne McNear, examines the relationship between the image and the cultivated landscape. Here, we take a look at 11 stunning photographs from the book.

Sam Abell served as a photographer for National Geographic for 30 years. He has long had a fascination with flowers and gardens. Pictured here is Prize Winning Flowers, Alaska State Fair, 2013.

Photo: © Sam Abell

Eugene Atget was a French documentary photographer who often captured street scenes of Paris. He also shot images of flowers, like Lys (Lilies), 1916–19, shown here.

Photo: Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum

Imogen Cunningham is perhaps one of the best-known botanical photographers. Pictured here is Calla, 1929, from the series “Pflanzenformen.”

Photo: © 2018 Imogen Cunningham Trust. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the George Eastman Museum

In documenting suburban life Bill Owens captured this image: Before the dissolution of our marriage my husband and I owned a bar. One day a toilet broke and we brought it home, 1971.

Photo: © Bill Owens

Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri was a pioneer of color photography in Europe. Shown here is Versailles, 1985.

Photo: © Estate of Luigi Ghirri, Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

Like Bill Owens, Larry Sultan photographed suburban life, as seen here in Los Angeles, Early Evening, 1986.

Photo: © Estate of Larry Sultan, Casemore Kirkeby, San Francisco

While many of Catherine Opie’s photographs explore social and political themes, she is also known for her landscapes. Here, in an untitled piece from 2000, Opie captures a bust in a garden.

Photo: © Catherine Opie, Courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

For his “Allotments” series (of which Birmingham, UK, 2004, shown here, is a part), Andrew Buurman photographed the Uplands Allotments in Birmingham, which, at 422 garden plots, is the largest allotment site in the U.K.

Photo: © Andrew Buurman, Courtesy of the George Eastman Museum, purchase with funds from Charina Foundation Endowment

Sharon Core takes an art-historical approach to photography. In 1782, 2011, she re-creates an 18th-century still-life painting of flowers.

Photo: © Sharon Core

Nickolas Muray studied lithography and photography in Budapest before moving to New York after the outbreak of World War II. He captured this photo, Claude Monet’s Garden, Giverny, France, in 1926, while on assignment in Europe.

Photo: Courtesy of the George Eastman Museum, Museum accession
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