“The Garden is a photographic series that focuses on the relationship between a person and a garden, which can be seen as some sort of artificially created landscape. These photographs were taken in five botanical gardens. The botanical garden is a place that inspires me with its complexity concentrated in one specific area, and that in my understanding takes on a function of a museum. As I take the portraits, I find paralels between the life of a man and the life cycle of the plants through my own feelings. I am looking for indirect significance that plants have in our lives.”
The series “The Garden” combining colour and black&white analogue photography presents fragments found in various botanical gardens. Their iconography becomes the main source for metaphors describing nature as an image of a human’s inner world. In this project, the classic principles of the genre of portrait have been changed by adding the element of indirect coding of our inner worlds – looking at what moves and evolves within us through our lives. This sybolics is found in the extraordinary landscapes typical for botanical gardens.
The viewfinder points directly at deviations or differences found in the gardens. It is focused on documenting the unique moments of motion, growth or transformation of nature that can be seen as the direct opposite of the universal life cycle. Thanks to the long-term on-site mapping of each spot we can sense the confrontation of the time’s role for nature and for human’s existence (individual inner life if you like). Conscious turning back to nature in this project has archetypal background. It becomes the search for the image of life within nature, which we have abandoned and lost in today’s unified era of information.
The natural territory of botanical gardens functions as a sort of ground plan for the author’s self-reflective thoughts about the motives and shifts in human soul (oftentimes ephemeral and processual. The typology of gardens is a model reflection of the communication between authentically natural and human interferences in the landscape. It reflects the alternation of passivity and activity, the processuality within a static image.
(Nina Vrbanová, Portraits of Nature, Photoport Gallery, 2014)
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