Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edwin Smith, Photographer.

If you are familiar with gardening books from the 50's and 60's, you will probably have seen the photography of Edwin Smith. Most notably he was the sole photographer in Edward Hyams 'The English Garden" ( an irritating title since the book includes Bodnant, which, the last time I looked, is in Wales).
His subjects were mostly landscape, architecture and gardens from which he created atmospheric images with sometimes somber moodiness. For gardeners, many of his pictures give an insight into post-war Europe when extreme austerity made garden construction and repairs very difficult.  New building materials were hard to come by and probably expensive, but there was plenty of old material from the demolition of buildings after the blitz. Evidence of this can be seen in Edwin Smith's photographs of the gardens of Park House, the post-war home of Lanning Roper and Primrose Codrington, where old bricks and bits of architectural decoration were used to construct charming vignettes of visual interest.
In his pictures of Sissinghust, you see a more lived-in look to the famous garden, in a view looking back from the Rose Garden to the Tower Lawn, pieces of old pipe can be seen either side of the pathway and in the view from the Tower to the Entrance Court the Irish Yews that stand as sentries either side of the path look a lot more shaggy than they do now under the care of the National Trust.

Park House used recycled materials with great effect,
 sadly this garden no longer exists.

At Sissinghurst old pieces of pipe used, perhaps,
to train the boxwood hedge.
Looking across the entrance court from the Tower.
The Villa Gargoni, used as the cover on "Evocation of Place"
The photography of Edwin Smith.


Helen said...

I always find good garden photographs instructive. Love the final one; certainly an evocation of place!

Paul Jung said...

Hi Barry,

that last photo is very atmospheric and worthy of being the cover picture of a Joy Division or Bauhaus LP (I'm dating myself a little!)

Barry Parker said...

Hi Helen,
They are inspiring aren't they?

Barry Parker said...

Hi Paul, An amazing shot isn't it?
I'll date myself even more, by saying I only have the vaguest idea of what or who Joy Division and Bauhaus are!