Winner of the Syngenta Photography Award 


Essays by
Malu Halasa & Jocelyn C. Zuckerman 

‘The Gardener’, is the winning project of the inaugural Syngenta Photography Award. Photographed by Jan Brykczynski, it is an extension of his previous projects in which he travelled to the outer corners of Europe to explore the lives of people in rural areas. This new work looks at how city dwellers try to connect with nature.

The book documents urban gardens in Nairobi, New York, Warsaw, and Yerevan in Armenia. Jan Brykczynski approaches it as if the world were a single village, whose inhabitants seek to meet similar, and very human, needs. His focus is on low-income communities where people respond to a basic need rather than any passing fad. When they create their gardens, improvisation is all. The residents of these neighbourhoods make use of what is available – often re-using materials entirely out of context and in truly original ways.

His particular interest is the way in which these spaces are arranged and in how structures for cultivation are created spontaneously. In some places these are an expression of group collaboration, in others they highlight individual imagination and the inventiveness of their creators. Yet there are surprising similarities across different continents, evidencing a collective consciousness and a common humanity.

Born in Poland, Jan Brykczynski, is a founding partner of the internationally renowned Sputnik Photos collective. His first book Boiko (2014) explored rural life in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and his work on Icelandic farms led to him being awarded the inaugural Syngenta Photography Award. He has exhibited in Noorderligcht Gallery, Leica Gallery Warsaw, National Museum in Gdansk, PhotoDoc in Utrecht, and in Deichtorhallen, Hamburg. He has published in New York Times International, Die Welt, The Independent, Cicero, Art, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, The Chicago Tribune, foto8, Lensculture. He is represented by the Anzenberger Agency.

Hardback, 88 pages
290 x 200mm, 43 colour plates
ISBN: 978-1-907893-66-7