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Contemporary Photography and the Garden

Gardens have inspired artists for hundreds of years. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, photographers ranging from Eughne Atget to Edward Steichen were drawn to gardens for their beauty and their metaphorical associations. A century later, in the mid-1980s, an unusually large number of artists returned to the garden as a subject for their photography.
This lovely book devoted to the garden photography of contemporary artists accompanies an exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts. The photographs, by Gregory Crewdson, Len Jenshel, Erica Lennard, Sally Mann, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, and other acclaimed artists, demonstrate a remarkably wide range of artistic responses to the garden. Whether presenting it as a haven of tranquility and lyrical beauty or drawing on it as a dark visual metaphor for the manipulation of nature, these photographs express the artists' investigation of the forms, atmosphere, and symbolism of the garden. Essays by Thomas Padon, Robert Harrison, Ronal Jones, and Shirin Neshat bring historical and contextual insight to the fascination many contemporary artists have with this popular subject.
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