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Photography and the Garden

Posted On March 11, 2022 | 15:45 pm | by kathys | Permalink
Snapshots from a hundred years of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

The Dumbarton Oaks Gardens have been a unique and attractive setting for photographers since Farrand began designing the landscape in 1921. Dumbarton Oaks Archivist Emeritus James N. Carder highlights two sets of photographs in his From the Archives essay series, including postcards from the gift shop and a collection of the Gardens captured in “vivid” black and white.

A Century in the Gardens, an exhibition celebrating the gardens’ centennial, opened last month in the Orientation Gallery and includes a set of newly commissioned photographs by landscape photographer Sahar Coston-Hardy, continuing the century-old tradition of picture-making in the Gardens.

Dumbarton Oaks—First Postcards, 1945

 By James N. Carder (September 2017)

In February 1945, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection ordered twelve black-and-white postcards to be printed by the Washington, DC, firm Judd and Detweiler. The views on the postcards included three of the Main House, an aerial view of the property, and views of the principal garden areas. Each image was printed in an edition of five thousand in a small, 3½-by-5½-inch format. The postcards were made from photographs taken by Stewart Brothers Photographers of Washington, DC, in the early 1930s.

See the first set of Dumbarton Oaks postcards.

The Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Vivid Black and White

By James N. Carder (October 2016)

Even after the availability of color photography and, later, the advent of the digital image, a number of artist-photographers have continued to work with black-and-white film stock. They also continue to develop their art in darkrooms, usually employing either the silver gelatin process or the more matte platinum/palladium process. These artists use these media in many cases so that they can better manipulate the image and create rich tonal effects that range from bright white to velvet black.

Over the years, the Archives and House Collection have received black-and-white images that were photographed in the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens.

James N. Carder was advisor for the House Collection from 1992 to 1998 and archivist and manager of the House Collection from 1998 to 2018. Discover more stories in the “From the Archives” series.