It was above all the title that attracted me to this tome: Garden State. For reasons unbeknownst to me my mind associated it with Florida (quite wrongly, this is the Sunshine State) and South Africa (because of the Garden Route) yet since I wasn't too sure I googled it and learned that New Jersey was called the Garden State. Well, Corinne Silva's book is not about New Jersey but about gardens in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Looking at her photographs (there aren't any captions), I would have never guessed – as far as I'm concerned they could have been taken in any Southern climate.
On the other hand, a photo book (not always though) presents photos in a context. This is how Corinne Silva introduces Garden State: „Gardens are micro-landscapes, and gardening, like mapping, is a way of allocating territory. In Garden State I consider the political relationship between gardens and colonisation that has existed from the eighteenth century to the present day. Over two years, from 2011, I travelled across twenty-two Israeli settlements making photographs of public and private gardens, in order to explore the ways in which gardens and gardening may represent the Israeli State's ongoing expansionist ambitions in the historic land of Palestine.“
Differently put, she follows a specific agenda, she wants to show what is already on her mind. And this begs the question: Does she succeed?
For more, see here