For centuries, gardens have inspired artists. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, photographers ranging from Eugène Atget to Edward Steichen were drawn to their beauty and rich metaphorical associations. This book looks at a group of artists who, beginning in the mid-1980s, turned to gardens as a subject for their photography. The extraordinary and diverse work shown here demonstrates a wide range of artistic response—from reflecting upon the garden as a site of lyrical beauty and luxuriant atmosphere to drawing upon it as a dark visual metaphor for the manipulation of nature.
Contemporary Photography and the Garden—Deceits and Fantasies, which accompanies a traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts, presents the remarkably wide-ranging work of an international group of contemporary artists: Sally Apfelbaum, Daniel Boudinet, Gregory Crewdson, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Sally Gall, Lynn Geesaman, Linda Hackett, Geoffrey James, Len Jenshel, Erica Lennard, Sally Mann, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, Marc Quinn, and Jean Rault. Depicting gardens in Japan, India, Europe, Great Britain, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, their work investigates the forms, atmosphere, and symbolism of the garden. Essays by Thomas Padon, Robert Harrison, Ronald Jones, and Shirin Neshat examine the garden as a subject in contemporary photography and as a signifier in cultural and religious history.