ABOUT PICTURES FROM THE GARDEN
Pictures from the Garden – A short introduction
Pictures from the Garden is a collaborative project by seven photographers; Alys Tomlinson, Jem Southam, Vanessa Winship, Sian Davey, Nik Roche, Matthew Finn and me. The idea arose as a way of engaging both with Paddy Summerfield’s seminal book of photographs exploring his relationship with his parents, Mother and Father (Dewi Lewis 2016) and the physical and psychological space in which much of that work was made.
Between 2021 and 2023 the photographers visited the house in Oxford where Paddy and his wife Patricia continued to live, often making numerous visits, to make new work that examined their own response to the photography found in the original 2016 publication.
Eventually The Photographers’ Gallery supported an exhibition of the work which was curated by Clare Grafik, head of exhibitions at The Photographers’s Gallery, and shown at The North Wall in May 2023 in Oxford as part of Photo Oxford Festival. A book, Pictures from the Garden, was also published by Dewi Lewis at the same time.
In July 2023 the Bodleian Library acquired the original prints from the exhibition alongside Paddy Summerifleld’s archive.
My text from the book
For Paddy, narrative is always there, in every one of his photographs. In these pictures made between July 2016 and January 2023 there is an alternative narrative in which Paddy and Patricia have become the parents; a repeat of the nurturing relationship lived out in the same garden and the same house, in a different time.
It occurs to me that the garden may be the cradle of these relationships, encouraging the sinews of the human heart to entwine and grow down into the earth.
Paddy’s photographs document the light and space between him and his parents. My photographs record the afterglow of that light and that space.