The earliest photographic processes were slow: most required minutes-long exposures to register an enduring image. Pictures often had to be made outdoors to take advantage of available light. Bayard was an inventor of one of the earliest photographic processes and produced some of the first self-portraits with a camera. Here, Bayard represents himself as a gardener, mending a trellis to guide the growth of his botanical wards. It was frequently argued that photography enabled nature to represent itself, but in Bayard’s allegorical garden, the photographer plays an active role as a cultivator of the new art of light.
Gallery label from 2019