Monday 23 April 2012

Historic Garden Photos by Frances Benjamin Johnston

Flagstones Charles Clinton Marshall house, 117 East 55th Street, New York, New York. Tea house/sleeping porch, 1921–1922

A very interesting post and beautiful post on Design Sponge featuring Some lovely early American garden photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864–1952) who was one of the earliest American female photographers.  According to the Library of Congress she 'Trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, she studied photography upon her return to Washington, D.C., in the mid-1880s and opened a professional studio circa 1890. Her family's social position gave Johnston access to the First Family and leading Washington political figures and launched her career as a photojournalist and portrait photographer. Johnston turned to garden and estate photography in 1910s.'

The collection of more than 1,000 of Frances's hand-colored garden (and house) photos has been added to this online catalogue of the Library of Congress, and contains wonderful stuff!

Moreover, the photographs are also the subject of a just-published,  400-page book by Sam Watters entitled Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935: Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

 The book includes informative essays that describe the importance of Johnston’s work with gardens and explain the techniques she used to compose lantern slides that resemble delicate miniature paintings. In addition, Watters gives information about the current state of the gardens today - a very valuable tool for garden historians.

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