Architecture, Book review, photography
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Hélène Binet’s Chinese Landscapes

Architectural photographer Hélène Binet’s new book capturing her photographs of Suzhou Gardens of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site has portrayed something which very few photographs can convey- the transcendental meditative qualities of these gardens. While paging through the photographic essay, I found myself immersed in the tranquil nature of the gardens around the stucco walls, telling stories of yesteryears.

Hélène Binet, ‘Humble Administrator’s Garden’ 2018. © the Artist.

It reminded me of the importance of shadow. With modern aesthetic obsession with everything neat and clean and white, we have lost the charm of growing old with ageing. The walls of Suzhou Garden are reminiscent of graceful ageing and that is what make them so timeless. The ephemeral quality of photographs have a dream like imagery which take the viewers beyond what is seen. It is upto us to dream, imagine and dwell in what Gaston Bachelard has called revery.

Book cover, Hélène Binet, The Walls of Suzhou Gardens. A Photographic Journey, Lars Müller Publishers, 2021.

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