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The Book Column : Anne Immelé : Gardens of Riesthal


For The Eye of Photography, photographic books are as important as an exhibition or a portfolio. They make the history and the actuality of the medium. Our correspondent Zoé Isle de Beauchaine takes a tirelessly curious and informed look at the latest releases.

The book opens and closes on a handful of branches and dead leaves resting at the bottom of a wheelbarrow touched by a soft light. An image bordering on abstraction, simple but full of poetry, like the whole series that Anne Immelé has devoted to the gardens of Riesthal.

The Riesthal gardens are former workers’ gardens on the outskirts of Mulhouse. In 2005, the photographer, her family and a few friends took over plot number 100, transforming it from a wasteland into an abundant oasis where species cohabit in harmony.

Anne Immelé has immortalized this garden in such a way that time seems suspended and often magnified by the rays of a summer sun. In reality, the place is in constant evolution, fruits are picked, pieces from the vegetable garden will be composted, plots of land are renewed while fires burn.

Between the branches of the fruit trees, the children play, laugh, daydream, observe the plant environment that surrounds them and use it to make games. They are overflowing with joy just like nature in this garden. By mixing the kingdom of childhood with that of plants, Anne Immelé draws an ode to life and freedom.

An ode that joins her way of apprehending gardening and vegetable growing: « Many gardeners try to have a perfect mastery of their culture, protecting their vegetables from all diseases, seeking productivity. As for us, we let nature act, overflowing in a garden in movement, in constant re-configuration thanks to the vagrant plants so beneficial to insects, we let the so-called wild plants cohabit with the cultivated plants. »

A sensitive and poetic testimony, Jardins du Riesthal calls for a more respectful relationship with plant life, affirming an ecological commitment that Anne Immelé intends to pass on: « The pleasure of time spent in these gardens is the best way to pass on cultivation gestures, and a relationship with the earth to future generations. »


Anne Immelé – Gardens of Riesthal
Published by Médiapop, 2022
With texts by Jean-Christophe Bailly and Corinne Maury
200 x 230 mm, 128 pages
Isbn : 978-2-491436-59-9
Price : 30 € for the book
Available in bookstores and on the internet

Anne Immelé’s website
Anne Immelé’s Instagram page

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