Canadian, b. 1942
Untitled, from the series European Gardens and Villas, 1984
silver print on paper
13.5 x 31.1 cm Image: 8.5 x 26.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with The Photography Endowment of The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
This photograph is part of a much larger project by Geoffrey James, which focused on documenting European gardens and villas. The entire series of images was taken with a panoramic camera, and the negative size is the same as the print size. As evident in this work, two methods of understanding are engaged: one that sees the image as a record of the reality captured in the viewfinder, and one that recognizes that it also commemorates the past, marked by history. This piece is technically superb in illustrating contrasting textures and fine detail. The formalist quality of the composition is also indicative of James’ interest in theatricality. Alone and as a whole, the photography and the entire project acts as part conservation and part commemoration of these spectacular yet, at times, overlooked spaces.