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Todd Stewart
The Garden

 

Interview of Todd Stewart about
The Garden, by Henri Peyre

 

Who are these characters?

Although the project includes members of my extended family, the primary subjects of the work are my twins, Ethan and Lily.

 

This series was carried out over how many months (or years)?

The photographs were taken over a period of six or seven years, beginning in 2002 with the birth of the twins. I have continued to make photographs as they have matured with that work transitioning into another project entitled, First Light, Last Day of Summer.

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

l'auteur

Todd Stewart


Todd Stewart began his career as photographer working for advertising and design clients in Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University. Since that time, he has been an Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Imaging at the University of Oklahoma.

For many years Stewart’s concerns as an artist have centered on the relationships between history, myth, and culture. This work has included a growing exploration of the American Landscape and a continued examination of the question: does place hold memory?

Stewart is the author of two books

 
 Placing Memory: A Photographic Exploration of Japanese American Internment

and the forthcoming, Picher, Oklahoma: Catastrophe, Memory, Trauma

Stewart’s photographs have been exhibited widely throughout the United States, recognized by museum curators at the The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Photographic Arts, Santa Diego; and publication editors including those from Aperture and the New York Times Magazine.

http://toddstewartphotography.net

 

 

 

Why this title?

The Garden is a metaphor used to represent both nature and creation. Ethan and Lily are here as a result of medical science, specifically modern reproductive medicine. After they were born and as they became more and more a part of my life, I began to consider the difference between the humanity of these two individuals and the rather unnatural way in which their lives had come into existence. It occurred to me that we all share a similar complex relationship, one in which we are all simultaneously part of, and separate from, nature.

 

The simplicity, the value of things, the quality of the moment, these are important things for you?

Yes, the quiet instances of discovery and revelation I observe as we each attempt to define our own individual relationship with the natural world are the moments I value most as both an artist and father. And these are the moments I try to capture in my photographs.

 

This series presents simple subjects in a very efficient and mastered technical work. Why this treatment?

I suppose I want there to be some magic in the photographs. I want the images to be both quiet and compelling, the way I experienced the moments themselves.

 

Would you say that you are a documentary photographer?

Perhaps, but that label is subject to many different interpretations. I can say that I am very interested in photography’s unique connection to time and to the real. Although these are important elements of documentary photography, I find I am obsessed with how a medium so rooted in the real can transcend its own objectivity.

 

Are death and memory important issues in your work?

 Many have argued that death and memory are central issues in all photography. As a father I would say that having children makes you especially aware of these concerns.

 

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

 

 

 


Todd Stewart © The Garden

 

 

 

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