More and more people are seeking solace in their gardens during the lockdown. It seems we are increasingly looking to nature to help cultivate a sense of well being in these challenging times. For their exhibition Blooming Britain art duo Henry/Bragg documented people that enter amateur front garden competitions.
“We were especially interested in communities from post-industrial towns and cities that didn’t have a great deal of space to create a garden. It seems despite personal economics or space available, people still look for a way to express themselves and find an aesthetic” said Henry/Bragg.
The images were shot using a tilt and shift lens to give selective focus and taken from above to give an almost miniature effect to some of the scenes. This worked well with the super manicured gardens that looked like they could be from model homes.
The subsequent exhibition toured to the four RHS gardens in Surrey, Essex, Devon and Harrogate. The install shots here are from Hyde Hall garden in Essex. It was also shown at the Chelsea Flower Show, exhibited alongside the Regent’s Canal, London, in downtown Vancouver and the botanical gardens in Berlin.
In recent weeks the RHS has seen a significant increase in numbers seeking gardening advice as the country shuts down. They’ve received more than a million views of its gardening advice pages. Britain has always been a nation of gardeners, but recently they’ve become more aware of the significance of nature and the psychological boosts it can bring.
Henry/Bragg are artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg, who have featured in Decor Punk before. They highlight subject matters that mean a great deal to them, such as the erosion of working class culture, often focusing on British leisure pursuits, and the rise of global consumerism. They shine a light on overlooked members of society using a mix of documentary photography, film and social engagement.
“Our interest is in people and our work is a socio anthropological approach to social groups, usually involving 6 -12 months participant research. During this time we have the opportunity to interact with the people involved in the subject matter. Our thoughts and ideas change throughout this time as we develop a relationship with participants, making this an organic process. Because of lengthy research time we nearly always feel an attachment with the people involved so we feel more like a co participant rather than a dispassionate observer.”
“Our work to date has given us the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people from football fans to the women’s institute, old mods to talent show contestants, pigeon fanciers to aging punks. We have always gained some understanding from our work and research; we see this as a dialogical process with learning on both parts. Instead of using invented dramas, we turn the spotlight onto real people in real situations.”