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After a lifetime of working on a series of “collective portraits” in far-flung places such as Mexico; Ghana; Italy; Tir a’Mhurain, Scotland; and his adoptive country, France, an aging Paul Strand decided to concentrate on still lifes and the stony beauty of his own garden at Orgeval, France, as a site in which to distill his discoveries as a photographer. The work that constitutes The Garden at Orgeval is marked by close and careful study of the forms and patterns within nature—of tiny buttonshaped flowers, cascading winter branches, and fierce snarls of twigs. While the images bear the same directness and precise vision that is quintessentially Strand, the work also reflects a growing metaphorical turn. Renowned photographer Joel Meyerowitz—whose own affinity toward Strand’s Orgeval series stems from a lifetime of photographing in different genres and ultimately returning to nature as an enduring subject—will select the photographs in the book, and respond to them in an accompanying personal essay, reflecting on issues, including the contemplation of one’s garden and growing old. Beautifully produced in a modest size, in the manner of a volume of poems, this book’s task is to do credit to Strand’s final work, both as an individual and as a key figure in Modernist photography.
Paul Strand (born in 1890, New York; died in 1976, Orgeval, France) was one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. As a youth, he studied under Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, going on to draw acclaim from such illustrious sources as Alfred Stieglitz and David Alfaro Siqueiros. After World War II, Strand traveled around the world—from New England to Ghana, France to the Outer Hebrides—to photograph, and in the process created a dynamic and significant body of work.
Joel Meyerowitz (born in New York, 1938) is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in more than 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He has published over fifteen books, including Cape Light (1978) and Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks (2009).