Allégorie du Jardin

10 images Created 26 Jun 2022

Over the past year, I spent nine months living in France with my husband and daughter. The daily onslaught of disturbing news regarding our environment, combined with living in a place with so many layers of history all around me caused me to think very deeply about our species’ relationship to nature and how we have historically seen ourselves in relation to our environment. How did we get to such a perilous moment in our shared history with this planet?

This caused an existential crisis for me and I began to look for answers in the incredible gardens and parks in Paris where the history of man’s relationship with nature is visible around every corner – in the statues, landscape, and designs that include ancient horticulture going back many centuries.

In the giant historical archive at the Jardin des Plantes I spent hours in the library’s collections requesting archival prints (hundreds of years old) of the very same parks and gardens I was photographing. I began experimenting to find ways to combine the past and present. Creating new works by compositing these archival prints with my contemporary photographs that are of the same subject matter.

During one of my explorations, I reflected on a quote by John Muir where he described the perversity of man’s attempt to impose our will on nature. In the jardin, photographing these magnificent glass houses that contain their own fragile biospheres, I began to see the glass house as a poignant metaphor for our own precarious situation on this fragile little planet. How much longer will it take us to realize how our destinies are intertwined like the breaths we share in the glass house? And when will it be too late?
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