The Open Gardeners.

Another post that started life over on the 52 Rolls Project where we shoot a roll of film (or more) in a week, and repeat 52 times consecutively.

You may recall that we moved house a couple of months ago. The new place is great – a big house, great garden, nature reserve right next door. You get the picture. In fact, the only thing I can fault the place for is that the village’s one pub is an Everard’s pub and I’ve never been a fan.

Cossington (pop. 568) is small enough to retain some of that old fashioned community spirit too. People know their neighbours and offer help and advice, and you get the feeling that they mean it and are not just being nosey.

This bank holiday saw the village host that most English of events, an open gardens. For those not familiar with the idea, people pay money to a good cause (in this case the Cossington church renovation project) and in return get to poke around in other peoples’ gardens. There’s a couple of bands on, classic cars on show, a tombola, barbecue etc.

My mother-in-law is in the country and as a keen gardener and inquisitive foreigner, enjoys nothing better. I’d resisted such events in the past, but on this occasion, thought there might be a photo project in it that I could use here on 52 rolls.

So I bought my ticket, loaded a roll (#39 of the year) of Neopan into the Yashica and set off. Once again, I’d purposely chosen a project that would mean that I’d have to approach people and ask for their picture. It’s not something that I’m comfortable with, but in these relatively safe conditions, I fancied my chances.

No-one refused. In fact, of the 20 gardens that were open, I got 17 of the gardeners. 2 houses had no-one at home, despite a couple of visits, and the final house was so big that I had no idea which door I should knock on to find the owner. A couple needed return visits on Monday so I’m claiming 2 weeks from this set.

So here are the results. I gave no instruction of how people were to pose, other than asking them to have ‘the garden’ behind them. As usual with such a project, what is often more interesting than the pictures themselves, is how people prepare to be photographed, how they stand, and how they interact with their spouse (or their car) and the conversations that you have with people having taken the trouble to talk to them in the first place.

I’ve added borders to the pictures ready for printing as I expect they’ll get handled as I plan to hand a print to each of the subjects.Open Gardens293-2Open Gardens295-2Open Gardens290-2Open Gardens292-2Open Gardens296-2Open Gardens297-2Open Gardens298-2Open Gardens300-2Open Gardens301-2Open Gardens302Open Gardens303Open Gardens304Open Gardens309Open Gardens308Open Gardens306Open Gardens305Open Gardens311As I was using a TLR, I was required by the laws of such things (and Gemr‘s little challenge) to take another self-portrait:Open Gardens307


Yashica-Mat 124G, Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100, Ilford Ilfotec HC for 6 minutes at 18°C, scanned at home and tweaked in Photoshop.

Previously on 52 Rolls…


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